Home Secretary Amber Rudd has stated that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse will continue “without delay” following the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard.
Dame Goddard, Chair of the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry issued a statement citing family reasons for her resignation. She said that the role was, “an incredibly difficult step to take as it meant relinquishing my career in New Zealand and leaving behind my beloved family.”
The inquiry was set up in March 2015 to investigate allegations made against local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forces and public and private institutions in England and Wales.
Two former Chairwomen have also resigned from the role; Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down in July 2014 over questions raised about her late brother Lord Havers and Dame Fiona Woolf resigned following her links to establishment figures.
Hearings related to sexual abuse of British child migrants, who moved to parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth between 1920 and 1970 were due to start in February 2017. Public hearings into allegations of abuse related to Lord Janner were also due to start on the 7th March 2017. Janner, the Labour Peer who died in December has been accused of sex offences against children. His family have denied the charges.
Raymond Stevenson of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association told the BBC that survivors of the abuse “have been let down. They kind of really relied on this to be the last swan song, the last chance to really get justice.”
Sarah Champion, the Shadow Minister for preventing abuse urged the Government to act swiftly to replace Dame Goddard, “So many survivors of abuse had put their trust into her inquiry to get them justice. The Government now needs to act swiftly to get a new chair so that work can continue.”
Amber Rudd has said in a statement that she wants to reassure everyone affected that the work of the inquiry will continue.
Christine Sands, Deputy Managing Partner and Head of the Child Abuse Department at Jordans said “We have represented many hundreds of survivors of abuse and feel that the work of this inquiry is of vital importance. We are committed to the inquiry and assisting any of our clients who wish to, take part in it, regardless of who chairs it. It is a a shame that Dame Goddard’s resignation comes now, just as the direction of the inquiry seemed to be taking shape and we hope that Ms Rudd is true to her word that there will be no further delays with pushing the inquiry forward.”