Justice Lowell Goddard Outlines Scope Of Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry

CSA Panel To Speak With Survivors Of Abuse


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

Justice Lowell Goddard has outlined how the inquiry into the sexual abuse of children, which was launched in June 2014, five months after her appointment as the lead of the independent panel.

She explained that the inquiry will provide an opportunity to expose the “past failures of institutions” to ensure children are protected in the future and described the task the panel faces as “daunting”.

Justice Goddard said: "The sexual abuse of children over successive generations has left permanent scars, not only on the victims, but on society as a whole. This inquiry provides a unique opportunity to expose past failures of institutions to protect children."

She explained that the CSA inquiry, which will be one of largest public inquiries ever, will examine allegations of historic sexual abuse within a number of institutions, will not be obstructed by powerful figures and will not be “bogged down” by the delays that have damaged public opinion of the inquiry in recent months.

The work of the panel, which will travel around England and Wales to investigate institutions and talk to survivors, is expected to be complete before the end of 2020 and Justice Goddard committed to providing interim reports on its progress and recommendations from 2016.

She urged individuals who were sexually abused as children in an institutional setting or anyone who reported abuse to an authority figure and felt it was not taken seriously to come forward.

She added that it is “imperative” that the sexual abuse of children in the UK is reduced and that it is the “inherent right” of every child to experience a childhood free of sexual abuse and intimidation.

"And it is the inherent right of every adult who was sexually abused as a child to see those responsible being held to account,” she explained, before calling on organisations to take a proactive stance toward the inquiry and to self-report incidents of institutional failure.

Tracey Storey, a Partner and expert child abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: 
Expert Opinion
“The launch of the CSA inquiry after more than a year of delays is welcome news for survivors of abuse who now feel that they are finally moving closer to the answers they deserve surrounding institutional abuse.

“The survivors we are helping have found it extremely difficult to come forward and seek help and in some cases it has had a massive impact on their lives, so it is vital they are reassured their allegations will be taken seriously and that the help and support they need is now in place.

“Survivors have welcomed the decision of the panel to travel around England and Wales to meet with support groups and to investigate institutions, as well as the support mechanisms being put in place for survivors contributing to the inquiry. It is absolutely crucial the panel follows through with its promise to be transparent and ensure the public is informed of progress, as for too long survivors have been left in the dark on the progress of the inquiry.

“This inquiry also needs to deal with safeguarding for the future and implementing measures, such as mandatory reporting, that will ensure that offenders are stopped and punished, and survivors get the justice they deserve."
Tracey Storey, Partner