The taking of evidence of hundreds of people that have come forward to speak to the Goddard inquiry about their past experiences of abuse will commence this week in hearings across the country.
While more than 2,000 people have contacted the Goddard inquiry to inform that they had been abused, those due to provide evidence this week and in the weeks to come are part of the group of over 600 people that agreed to participate in the inquiry’s ‘truth project’. Their accounts will be taken in various locations with support provided by trained staff and counsellors, and these accounts will form part of the final reports of the inquiry.
The inquiry have stated that while they expect over 600 people to participate in the project initially, they hope and expect that a great deal more people will be encouraged to share their own experiences after witnessing the bravery of those leading the charge.
Although it has been confirmed that the evidence of these people will not go toward findings of guilt in the individual investigations being undertaken by the inquiry, they are nevertheless of critical important to the research of the inquiry as a whole.
Also commencing this week are the preliminary hearings of 7 out of the 13 investigations the inquiry is looking into. Some of these hearings include those regarding the Anglican and Catholic Churches, the insurance industry and abuse carried out overseas.
The inquiry is still hoping for more people to come forward and we would urge anybody who feels they may be able to assist or provide information to contact them as soon as possible. In addition to the investigations mentioned above, they are also looking into the conduct of local authorities including Lambeth Council regarding the activities of Cyril Smith MP, voluntary organisations and national and private organisations including the NHS and internet service providers. The range of the inquiry is vast and, given that it was only established in 2015, they are keen to obtain any information they can.