Lowell Goddard: historic sex abuse inquiry will take at least three years

Justice Goddard promises to take on Establishment, saying: '"I'm a judge, that's nothing new to me'

Justice Lowell Goddard
Justice Lowell Goddard said her inquiry would have achievable goals  

Rosa Prince

By Rosa Prince, Assistant Political Editor

05 Feb 2015

Justice Lowell Goddard, the newly appointed chairman of the inquiry into historic sexual abuse, has said her panel will not report back until 2018 but promised it would remain under control by setting ‘achievable goals'.

Following the chaos which surrounded the first attempts to set up the inquiry , with the departures of two chairmen over claims they were too close to the “Establishment,” Justice Goddard promised that victims would play a key role in selecting the new panel and setting its parameters.

Asked if she herself felt equipped to take on “the Establishment ,” she said: “Well, I'm a judge so that's not a new thing for me.

“It's very important to remember that at the forefront of the inquiry, and indeed the centre of this inquiry, are the survivors of child sexual abuse .

“Their views will inform the inquiry throughout and at the outset will be hugely beneficial in formulating the composition of the panel and setting the terms of reference and scoping the inquiry.”

The senior New Zealand judge also disclosed that her inquiry would cover the events in Rotherham , where police and council chiefs fail to stop the abuse of teenage girls, while also making recommendations for the future.

“It is a very broad landscape and the inquiry is very complex and multifaceted, but it needs to be achievable as well,” she told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme .

“ It needs to set goals that are achievable in the interests of the survivors of sexual abuse ...

“It must be managed because an inquiry that drags on and does not have achievable goals that cannot deliver is not an effective inquiry and I'm interested in conducting a very effective inquiry.”

Justice Goddard said she would carry out a “scoping exercise” to decide which material would be addressed, and had not yet decided whether to take the probe back to the period before 1970s.

“It has to be focused on what it has identified at the outset as its relevant parameters and its achievable goals. That is how you stop an inquiry getting out of control.

“The future has to be a huge part of why we are examining the past, why we are looking at situations like Rotherham and what our goal is in doing that.

"Yes, of course it is to revisit what happened, because it hasn't been revisited in any sort of a way that's given the victims of the past a voice, and part of that, though, is going to be very important in informing the future.”

Justice Goddard was speaking as Sir John Chilcot, the chairman of the Iraq Inquiry told MPs he was still unable to provide them with a publication date six years after he first began hearing evidence.

Source : Daily Telegraph

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