THE MAJOR inquiry into historical child sexual abuse in England and Wales will today start its work in the region as it opens a regional office.
The Government announced an independent inquiry into the way public bodies investigated and handled child sex abuse claims in July 2014.
But the inquiry was dogged by the resignations of two women appointed as chair of the investigation before New Zealand judge Dame Lowell Goddard was appointed in February 2015.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has already started 13 investigations, including those into Lord Janner and into child abuse by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and has launched regional offices in Liverpool and Manchester.
A visit to York today by Dame Goddard today marks the start of the Inquiry’s Truth Project in the North East, which aims to gain a better understanding of patterns of abuse by speaking to victims and survivors. The project will be separate from the Inquiry’s public hearings to ensure privacy for victims. Specialist support will be given to anyone who shares their experience.
Dame Lowell Goddard, who previously led an inquiry into police handling of child abuse cases in New Zealand, said: “I am delighted be in York today to meet with representatives from across the region to discuss the work of the Inquiry; in particular, how victims and survivors can share their experiences with us as part of the Truth Project.
“I am grateful for the time taken by everyone to meet with me and other members of the Inquiry and I want to emphasise that we are committed to delivering a strong regional presence, here in the north east and across England and Wales.”
Inquiry Panel member, Dru Sharpling added: “Our team in the north east will provide as much support and guidance as possible and we will be working alongside those organisations, who are already doing so much to support the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.”