Child Abuse Has Left "Permanent Scar on Victims and Society"

July 8, 2015

[with video]

The chair of a major independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse has warned of the "daunting" task ahead as it was officially opened.

Judge Lowell Goddard said the abuse of children had left "scars" on society as well as the victims.

The inquiry - which was set up last year amid claims of an establishment cover-up - has been beset by controversies and delays, including the resignation of two previous chairs.

The abuse of children has left "permanent scars on the victims and on society," Justice Lowell Goddard said as she opened the independent inquiry into the matter.

The high court judge said "no one, no matter how powerful" they were would obstruct her investigation.

She added: "No one will have immunity from scrutiny by virtue of their position.

"The task ahead of us is daunting. We must difficult questions to politicians, faith leaders, headteachers, police officers and public officials of all kinds, and we will carry on putting those questions until we get the answers."

Goddard also said:

The inquiry will focus on England and Wales and further afield if relevant

All victims will be anonymised and not made to feel like they are on trial

A victim advisory board has been appointed to provide specialist advice

Immunity from prosecution will be offered to ex-public servants who testify but not if they admit taking part in child abuse

The inquiry is expected to last five years but has "no cut off" and regular reports and recommendations on its findings will be published

Last updated Thu 9 Jul 2015








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