“Certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster” are to be investigated in Britain’s largest-ever public inquiry into child abuse.
Anglican and Catholic churches, children’s homes and councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale are also among the 12 separate investigations launched by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Justice Lowell Goddard, who took over as head of the probe following the resignation of two previous chairwomen, gave an update on its progress in London today.
“The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies,” she said.
“It will consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.“
The Home Secretary announced the probe up last year following claims of a high-level cover up of historic abuse but it has been beset by delays and controversy.
The inquiry is expected to take up to five years and cost tens of millions of pounds.
“There is no doubt that the task we have set ourselves is ambitious,” Justice Goddard said.
“To run 12 investigations in parallel represents an organisational challenge that is unprecedented in a public inquiry in the United Kingdom.
“We are determined to succeed and expect full co-operation of all institutions and individuals who can assist us in our work.”
The judge listed institutions under investigation including the Anglican Diocese of Chichester, English Benedictine congregations, the Youth Detention Centre in County Durham, and Cambridge House boys’ home in Rochdale.
The inquiry will attempt to establish whether state and non-state institutions have failed to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as how those failings have been addressed.
It will also order further action needed and make recommendations for the future in a final report.
The panel of victims and survivors consulting investigators released a statement saying they hoped it would “give public voice to that suffering and bring greater understanding of why so many horrific crimes went unreported and undetected for so long”.
A “truth project” is still calling for victims to come forward, the statement said, adding: “We encourage anyone who is a victim or survivor of child sexual abuse and who wants to share their experience to contact the inquiry.”
Here is the full list of investigations:
- Children in the Care of Lambeth Council
- Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire Councils
- Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Council
- Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church
- Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church
- The Sexual Abuse of Children in Custodial Institutions
- Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools
- The Internet and Child Sexual Abuse
- Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks
- The Protection of Children Outside the United Kingdom
- Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors
- Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse linked to Westminster