Scaling back of sex abuse inquiry ruled out

Alexis Jay.
Alexis Jay.

ROTHERHAM MP Sarah Champion has welcomed the results of an internal review which has concluded the national child sexual abuse inquiry will retain all of its investigations and should not be scaled back.

Inquiry chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay has rejected suggestions that the remit of the probe is too broad to succeed and has said it could even be expanded to cover abuse in sports, particularly football.

Professor Jay said she plans to make recommendations in an interim report in 2018 and spoke of her determination to make “substantial progress” by 2020.

Miss Champion said: “It’s right that the independent inquiry has commissioned this internal review, and I hope it now follows the recommendations.

“We need to see full transparency in the processes of the inquiry. This will reassure the survivors of abuse who have so bravely come forward, and give the country comfort that these awful crimes are being investigated in full.”

No final completion date has been given for what is the largest public inquiry ever established in the UK.

There have been suggestions that it could last for up to a decade.

Professor Jay yesterday published a review of the troubled inquiry, which she announced in August after being named as its fourth head since it was launched in 2014.

Thirteen investigative strands spanning several decades and examining a host of different institutions are currently being pursued.

There have been calls for the inquiry to be pared back, with former chairwoman Dame Lowell Goddard saying there was an “inherent problem” in its “sheer scale and size”.

However, a report setting out the findings of the review said the inquiry remains committed to pursuing each of the existing investigations as they play an “important part” in its task of examining institutional failure.

Prof Jay said: “There have been suggestions that the remit of the inquiry is too broad to succeed. I disagree. Its scope is a virtue, allowing it to recommend fundamental changes beyond the reach of an inquiry with a narrower remit.”

Prof Jay said that the inquiry could be expanded to cover abuse in sport. She said: “As we know from recent events there are other issues that may come up that may need the inquiry to open investigations on them. An obvious one is child sexual abuse in sports, and particularly football. I intend to await the outcome of the Football Association’s inquiry themselves, and scrutinise it to make sure it’s rigorous and has integrity.

“If it were not to satisfy these requirements then we may need to look at that as part of an additional strand of work, which means that the timescale, is not necessarily extended, because we might find other ways to deal with it.”