Survivors must have a stronger voice in Goddard abuse inquiry


Despite public inquiries over the last two decades, such as the Waterhouse inquiry and the Utting report into child abuse in care homes, the institutions of government have failed to deliver justice for survivors or tackle child abuse. And official inquiries have repeatedly absolved central government and the establishment from guilt. Yet there is still no indication of when the £18m Goddard child abuse inquiry will hear evidence regarding high-level abuse and coverups at Westminster.

The inquiry’s truth project began this week but, sadly, the testimonies given to it by survivors will have no direct legal consequences and will only be used as ballast to the final inquiry report; a form of window dressing that may leave many survivors not only bound to secrecy about their testimony but also deeply distressed.

In announcing the initial inquiry two years ago, the then home secretary, Theresa May, declared its remit was to look into institutional responses to all child sex abuse allegations, whatever the circumstances. With estimates of the number of child abuse survivors stretching into the millions, many thought this was a clear signal the government would try to bury the Westminster scandals by casting the net too wide.

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