The Investigation, better known as the Goddard Inquiry, was set up in March 2015 chaired by New Zealand’s High Court Judge Dame Lowell Goddard to examine claims made against public and private institutions.
The Goddard inquiry was to explore child sexual abuse allegations made against local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forces and public and private institutions in England and Wales as well as people in the public eye.
Hearings began into the investigation in March 2015 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. It was anticipated that in February 2017 there would be two weeks of hearings relating to the sexual abuse of British child migrants, who moved to parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth between 1920 and 1970.
Public hearings into the allegations of abuse relating to Lord Janner are due to start on 7th March 2017 and are expected to finish by the end of May 2017. Lord Janner, who died on December, was accused of sex offences against children in which the family deny.
Notwithstanding that the inquiry was very much in its infancy, today it is reported that Dame Lowell Goddard has resigned with immediate effect commenting that “conducting such a wide spread inquiry was not an easy task but compounding the many difficulties was its legacy of failure which has been very hard to shake off.”
Justice Goddard further said that she was “confident there have been achievements and some very real gains for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in getting their voices heard.”
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has replied in a statement that she would like to assure everyone with an interest into the inquiry that it will continue “without delay.”
In contrast however, BBC Home Affairs have reported that the resignation leaves the inquiry in “crisis.”
Justice Goddard’s resignation came on the same day that it was speculated that she has spent more than 70 days working abroad or on holiday during her short time in charge having spent 44 days in New Zealand and Australia on inquiry business in the first financial year of the inquiry and that she was entitled to 30 days annual leave.
A spokesperson for the victims of abuse reported that the survivors of abuse “have been let down” and further commented that many of the abuse victims “went through this 30 years ago in investigations by the police and they really relied on the inquiry to be the last swansong and chance to really get justice.”
The Inquiry has encountered many frustrations thus far, in July 2014 Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down as chairwoman following questions over the role played by her late brother, Lord Harvers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.
Baroness Butler-Sloss was replaced by Dame Fiona Woolf who later resigned following questions over links to establishment figures.
The inquiry will go on with or without a Chairperson and it is anticipated that this may last anything up to 10 years. In the first year costs were budgeted at £17.9 million with staffing related costs accounting for 41% of the total funded by the Home Office.
Whilst the victims of sexual abuse will have to wait up to a decade for the inquiry findings to be finalised and published, more prompt redress and justice can be obtained from instructing a Solicitor who specialises in sexual abuse cases.
If you have been the victim of sexual abuse by individuals with local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forced and public and private institutions in England and Wales as well as people in the public eye, then please do not hesitate to make contact with our Specialist abuse team here at Farleys Solicitors who may be able to assist you in your fight for justice.