Dame Lowell Goddard’s decision to quit as head of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse - 18 months after she took on the role - has been met with concern from campaign groups amid fears the investigation will be derailed.
The inquiry is now looking for its fourth chairman since its launch, in the summer of 2014, to carry out the 13 separate investigations.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “The crucial work of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse must not be derailed by the departure of the chair.
These are the 13 issues the inquiry is investigating:
• Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster.
This will be an “overarching inquiry” into allegations of abuse and exploitation involving “people of public prominence associated with Westminster”. It will examine high profile claims involving “current or former” MPs, senior civil servants and members of the intelligence and security agencies.
• The Roman Catholic Church.
This will look into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from abuse within the church in England and Wales. The investigation is expected to identify specific case studies, with the first examining the English Benedictine Congregation, which has been the subject of numerous allegations of child sexual abuse. The Catholic church in England and Wales said it has set up a council to assist the inquiry, adding it is “committed to the safeguarding of all children and vulnerable adults”.
• The Anglican Church.
This investigation will look at the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from abuse within the Anglican Church. The Church of England said it welcomed chair Justice Lowell Goddard’s statement, adding that the Archbishop of Canterbury has requested that the church be one of the first institutions to be considered in the work of the inquiry.
• Child sexual exploitation by organised networks.
This will focus on institutional responses to systematic grooming and sexual abuse of children by groups of offenders as seen in cities including Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford. Its work will include examining whether the regulation of the night-time economy and taxi licensing is effective in protecting children from abuse.
• The internet.
The inquiry will look into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation “facilitated” by the internet. This will include investigations of the policies of internet firms.
• Residential schools.
This will investigate abuse and exploitation of children in residential schools in both the state and independent sector.
• Nottinghamshire councils.
This will look into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire councils following allegations of widespread sexual abuse and exploitation. In a joint statement, the councils’ chief executives said: “From the outset, we have taken these allegations seriously. The safety and well-being of children in our care today must be, and is, of the highest priority.”
• Lambeth Council.
This will examine the extent of any institutional failures to protect children after allegations of abuse in children’s homes run by the London authority. Council leader Lib Peck said: “We welcome news that the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse will investigate the very serious, historic failings at children’s homes run by Lambeth in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. I know how important it is for the victims of these offences that the suffering they experienced is re-examined, and I have apologised on behalf of the council for the historic failings that let down so many young people.”
• Lord Janner.
This will look into allegations of child sex abuse against Lord Greville Janner. Claims against the late politician were originally expected to be aired during inquiry proceedings starting in September, but Dame Lowell adjourned the hearing until March. The peer, who died aged 87 in December, is alleged to have abused children over a period spanning more than 30 years and dating back to the 1950s, with offending allegedly taking place at children’s homes and hotels. His family said he was “an honourable man, entirely innocent and never convicted of any crime”.
• Protection of children outside the UK.
This will scrutinise “grave allegations” that have emerged regarding abuse by individuals working for British institutions and organisations abroad. It will examine bodies which recruit people to work abroad, including the Armed Forces, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council and private companies and charitable organisations.
• Sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions.
This will examine the scale of abuse within the secure estate for children and young people. The inquiry has identified Medomsley Youth Detention Centre, County Durham, as the first case study.
• Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale.
An inquiry into allegations of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children residing at or attending Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel, Knowl View School, and other institutions where their placement was arranged or provided by Rochdale Borough Council. Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of the council, said it will provide its full support to the inquiry.
• Accountability and reparations for victims and survivors of abuse.
This arm of the inquiry will focus on the support services and legal remedies available to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. It was included in response to multiple reports of inadequate support services and a civil justice system that may not deliver genuine reparation.