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Theresa May Appoints Justice Lowell Goddard To Lead CSA Inquiry

The Child Sexual Abuse Panel Will Now Have Statutory Powers


Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that Honourable Justice Lowell Goddard will become the new chair of the government’s independent inquiry into sexual abuse.
She is a New Zealand high court judge and will lead the new inquiry in sexual abuse, after the panel appointed in July 2014 was dissolved. Mrs May also announced that the terms of reference for the inquiry are also being revisited, which could mean the investigations go back beyond 1970.
The panel, initially launched in July to consider whether public bodies had neglected or covered up allegations of child sex abuse, has experienced a number of delays after former chairs Lady Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf resigned from their positions over conflicts of interests.
Home Secretary Theresa May has also granted the panel statutory powers. Speaking in Parliament, she said she was “more determined than ever” to expose people and institutions who had failed victims.
She explained more than 150 nominations were put forward for the role by survivors, their representatives, MPs and members of the public.
"Each and every name was assessed against a set of criteria incorporating the views of survivors on the most important factors. This included the appropriate skills to carry out this complex task, experience of that subject matter, and the absence of any direct links to any individual about whom people may have concerns, or any institution or organisation that might fall under the scope of the inquiry,” she added.

Expert Opinion
The delays with this independent inquiry have been completely unacceptable and survivors will no doubt be relieved that the CSA panel has now been dissolved, as it had become a concern that two chairs had resigned and the panel was continuing its work without leadership in place.

“While it is positive a new chair has been appointed by Theresa May, survivors will no doubt be frustrated and angry that the process will begin again from the beginning with a new panel selection process, which could lead to further delays.

“It is imperative the panel is set up correctly and suitable members are appointed so investigations can begin, as survivors already feel let down by the process and are understandably concerned that the answers they are looking for have not been provided over six months after the panel was announced.

“We hope that the appointment of Honourable Justice Lowell Goddard will signal the start of the inquiry in earnest and that the announcement of a statutory inquiry will provide survivors and support groups with increased hope that they are moving closer to receiving the answers they deserve.”
Tracey Storey, Partner

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