As we approach the 200-day mark since Home Secretary Theresa May announced her inquiry into historic child abuse – concerns are growing that a chair is still not in place.
With the UK general election just around the corner, May must now choose between a pool of almost 100 candidates.
The inquiry was at first to be led by former judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. only for her to step down one week later amidst controversy.
An investigation led by Baroness Butler-Sloss into allegations of abuse made against priests within the Diocese of Chicester in 2011 also fell under scrutiny.
She invited Roger Meekings to carry out an independent review of the past decisions of the Diocese and make recommendations which would become known as the Meekings Report.
This review was then taken into account alongside the Baroness’s own investigations, and it included names of some of the priests involved.
This included the name of one bishop that the Baroness believed, unwaveringly, must not be brought to the press’ attention.
Butler-Sloss was of the belief that to name the bishop publically would only serve to hinder the case of abuse survivor Phil Johnson and damage the reputation of the church.
On 5 September, Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf was named as the new head of the inquiry.
She then stood down on 31 October as it emerged she dined five times with former Home Secretary Lord Brittan in 2008-2012.
Christine Sands, head of the abuse claims department at Jordan’s Solicitors said: “ Since it is absolutely essential that survivors of child sexual abuse feel confident that their allegations are properly investigated, the lack of a decision to appoint a chair and start making progress in these matters is concerning.
“It is important that a decision is reached quickly with the elections imminent, as the inquiry is far too important to just be simply side-lined. Proposals that might widen the powers of investigation and give support to those victims of abuse coming forward are also to be welcomed.”