Sexual Abuse Victims' Groups Set To Call For Fiona Woolf's Resignation

Fiona Woolf’s Inexperience And Personal Relationships Have Led To Concerns

31.10.2014

Support groups for the victims of sexual abuse are set to meet officials from a government inquiry into the actions taken by public bodies to protect children from 1970 to the present day and they are expected to once again call for the inquiry’s head, Fiona Woolf, to resign.

Concerns have been raised by survivors that she does not have the experience required to head the inquiry and that her social connections to former Home Secretary Lord Brittan, whose handling of abuse claims in the 1980s has been called into question.

The government has backed Mrs Woolf but representative of victims’ groups have said they have “zero confidence” in the inquiry.

The start of the inquiry has already been delayed as the first person appointed to lead it – Baroness Butler Sloss – stepped down after concerns were raised over links with those who will be investigated.

Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said Mrs Woolf was "entirely inappropriate" to lead the inquiry and that she has demonstrated “she knows nothing about this deeply entrenched social evil”.

Expert Opinion
From speaking to our clients we know that survivors of abuse want the inquiry to get underway as soon as possible but they are concerned about Fiona Woolf’s suitability to carry out the role because of her friendship with Lord Brittan and his wife, as well as her lack of experience with sexual abuse cases.

“Survivors of abuse have already been let down once by society and it is vital the government does not add insult to injury by proceeding with an inquiry that the survivors no longer have any confidence in. Decisions need to be taken quickly so that the inquiry is not hit by further delays.

“It is critical that an inquiry does get underway as soon as is practically possible once these issues have been dealt with. There is a significant amount of work to be done to investigate the allegations thoroughly and the inquiry must be conducted as transparently as possible as survivors need answers and to be reassured that justice will be done and lessons will be learnt.”
Tracey Storey, Partner