Sex abuse probe ‘needs clear goals’

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The latest figure chosen to head the long-delayed inquiry into historic child sex abuse has warned it must set “achievable goals” from the outset or risk running out of control.

New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard said victims would play a “hugely beneficial” role in shaping the scope of the investigation when she arrives in the UK to discuss its terms of reference.

Home Secretary Theresa May indicated yesterday that the newly re-formed inquiry – which will have tough new powers to compel witnesses to attend and provide evidence – was likely to look further back than the original 1970 cut-off.

Justice Goddard said all such issues remained to be decided but getting them right was essential to a process which is set to last for several years.

“It is a very broad landscape and the inquiry is very complex and multi-faceted but it needs to be achievable as well, it needs to set goals that are achievable in the interests of the survivors of child sexual abuse but also the state,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“It must be managed because an inquiry that drags on and does not have achievable goals that cannot deliver is not an effective inquiry.

“That is how you stop any inquiry getting out of control. It has to be focused on what it has identified at the outset as its relevant parameters and its achievable goals.”

She said survivors would be “at the forefront of this inquiry and indeed the whole centre” and that it would draw on the lessons of recent scandals such as large-scale child sex exploitation in Rotherham.

“It will be focused on not only the past experience of survivors but also on current situations such as this Rotherham report I am reading about and also about how we protect for the future and make sure these terrible abuses do not occur again.

“The future has to be a huge part of why we are examining the past.”

Mrs May turned to an overseas figure after the inquiry lost its first two chairs over questions about their links with establishment figures.

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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