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The Goddard Inquiry: the scope of inquiry into historical child sexual abuse extends to England and Wales

The Goddard Inquiry: the scope of inquiry into historical child sexual abuse extends to England and Wales

In July 2015, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was officially opened for England and Wales. Established by the British Home Secretary, the Inquiry has been given the broad remit to investigate child sexual abuse matters of the past, and to take stock of child protection procedures as a means of informing future child protection practice. It is an Inquiry which closely parallels the objectives of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Inquiry is now in the process of encouraging the many unreported victims of historical child sexual abuse to come forward and relate their experiences to the Inquiry’s panel, which plans to commence its private sessions in October 2015. The Inquiry’s public hearings, which are to commence in 2016, will concentrate on investigating:

  • individuals who have failed to prevent child sexual abuse within institutions, as well as
  • specific institutions that have exhibited systemic failure in their duty of care to children.

Institutions which have already been ear marked for investigation include churches, the National Health Service and BBC.

The Inquiry is headed by Justice Lowell Goddard, a Justice of the New Zealand High Court, with long-standing advocacy experience for victims of child sexual abuse. Counsel-Assisting the Inquiry is Ben Emmerson QC, a prominent human rights barrister whose cases include the 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, the Bolton 7, and more recently in the inquiry into the alleged assassination of Russian, Alexander Litvenenko.

You can find out more of the Goddard Inquiry here.

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