A New Zealand High Court judge has been named as the head of an inquiry into historical child sex abuse in England and Wales.
Following 200 days since the inquiry was first announced and the departures of two chairmen, Justice Lowell Goddard has assured that victims would play a key role in selecting the new panel and setting its parameters.
She has promised her panel will not report back until 2018 but promised it would remain under control by setting ‘achievable goals’.
She said: “It’s very important to remember that at the forefront of the inquiry, and indeed the centre of this inquiry, are the survivors of child sexual abuse.
“Their views will inform the inquiry throughout and at the outset will be hugely beneficial in formulating the composition of the panel and setting the terms of reference and scoping the inquiry.”
The senior judge also disclosed that her inquiry would cover the events in Rotherham, where police and council chiefs fail to stop the abuse of teenage girls, while also making recommendations for the future.
“It is a very broad landscape and the inquiry is very complex and multifaceted, but it needs to be achievable as well,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
“It needs to set goals that are achievable in the interests of the survivors of sexual abuse”
Lee Fannon, a solicitor at Jordans, said: “This is an encouraging development and suggests that the process of enquiry will have firm direction and aims to work to during the long process of investigation. Most encouraging of all is that it seems the needs of abuse survivors will be taken into account in the process as clearly their voices are going to be a vital part of any investigation.“