How child abuse inquiry lurched from ‘catastrophe to catastrophe’ – timeline

The Guardian

Nadia Khomami and Matthew Weaver
Thursday 29 September 2016

Ben Emmerson QC has been suspended from the the troubled inquiry into institutional child abuse before he was expected to resign over disagreements with the fourth chair, Alexis Jay. His suspension is the latest setback to an investigation that has lurched from “catastrophe to catastrophe”, according to leading campaigner and child abuse survivor Ian MacFadyen.

The former director of public prosecutions, Lord MacDonald, said the inquiry had been “careering out of control since its inception”.

Here is a summary of the inquiry’s brief and beleaguered history:

7 July 2014

Theresa May, then home secretary, announces a public inquiry into child abuse prompted by allegations of a cover-up of the crimes of prominent offenders such as Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith. She says the inquiry has the remit of investigating whether “state and non-state institutions”, including churches, Westminster, schools, the BBC, hospitals and care homes, have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse within England and Wales. May says:

Our priority must be the prosecution of the people behind these disgusting crimes … Wherever possible – and consistent with the need to prosecute – we will adopt a presumption of maximum transparency. And … where there has been a failure to protect children from abuse, we will expose it and we will learn from it.

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the retired senior judge who chaired the Cleveland child abuse inquiry in the late 1980s, is appointed as chairwoman. The former president of the family division of the high court, who coined the phrase “listen to the children” in her Cleveland report, says she is honoured to be asked to carry out “this important work”.

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