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CSA Inquiry Into Handling Of Sexual Abuse Allegations To Begin Without Chair Person

The Wanless Report Into The Dickens Dossier Will Be Published On 12 November


A review led by NSPCC chief Peter Wanless into the way the Home Office dealt with allegations of sexual abuse it received between 1979 and 1999 will be published next week.

The review forms part of a wider inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation, which has faced delays as both Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf have resigned their positions as chair of the investigation after pressure from survivors and victims’ groups.

It looked at claims that the Home Office failed to act on allegations in a dossier that former Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens passed to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983.

Making a statement on the wider child abuse inquiry, Home Secretary Theresa May told the Commons: "I know that some members of the House have suggested that the Government should publish today the Wanless report about the Home Office permanent secretary's investigation into the so-called Dickens dossier. I can tell the House that the Wanless report will be published next week.

"This is because it is about a separate but related matter to the work of the panel inquiry and I want members of the public and the media to have time to scrutinise both this statement and the Wanless review properly."

The panel tasked with leading the investigation into the way sexual abuse allegations were handled will meet for the first time on 12 November, despite the absence of a chair person. Mrs May has admitted the process of finding a suitable person to lead the inquiry will not be an easy task.

She said: “Almost four months after I announced my intention to establish a panel inquiry it is obviously very disappointing that we do not yet have a panel chairman and for that I want to tell survivors that I am sorry.

"To put it bluntly, it will not be straightforward to find a chairman who has both the expertise to do this hugely important work and has had no contact at all with an institution or individual about whom people have concerns.”

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Expert Opinion
The apology given by the Home Secretary for the mistakes made to date in getting a suitable chair for the Panel Inquiry is welcomed. Also it is reassuring that Theresa May is meeting with survivors this week. The Government now needs to ensure that the next Chair has the confidence of survivors, adequate time to devote to the job and also good knowledge and experience of child protection, as well as no links to individuals or organisations where there are concerns.

“Survivors are a diverse group of people with differing opinions and needs but many have been let down by authority in the past. It is good that the Home Secretary has indicated that those assisting the inquiry will be given access to help and support. Also it is vital that the inquiry proceeds with its work, is transparent and has the confidence of survivors."
Tracey Storey, Partner

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