Landmark Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse To Begin

By Tom Parmenter
Sky News
July 8, 2015

The inquiry will look at the role of state and non-state institutions

[with video]

A year and two days after it was announced, the inquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales will formally open later.

At 10am New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard will outline the guiding principles that will shape what is expected to be the biggest inquiry ever seen in the UK.

It was set up by Home Secretary Theresa May following child abuse scandals that rocked various institutions including political parties, Government departments in Westminster, the police, churches, schools, children's homes, the military and many others.

Survivors groups and individual survivors have been consulted and will give evidence as part of the process but the early stages have been dogged by in-fighting and controversy.

:: Survivor: Abuse Inquiry Will 'Lead to Deaths'

The first two women appointed to lead the inquiry, Dame Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf, both had to step down because of their links to the British establishment which meant survivors could not trust them to be impartial.

The search for a suitable candidate eventually led to New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard, who earlier this year insisted she had no links whatsoever to the establishment, telling MPs: "We don't have such a thing in my country."

Her inquiry will not examine individual abusers but instead look at the roles played by state and non-state institutions and assess what went so badly wrong and why so many children were exposed to sexual abuse.

The inquiry will also assess how child safeguarding has improved and what still needs to change.

The process is likely to run for years - no time limit has been set but the first interim report is due to be published in 2018.


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