Child abuse inquiry will have 'truth and reconciliation' role

New chairman Justice Lowell Goddard tells MPs she hopes the inquiry will start work in early April and give victims a 'voice'

Justice Lowell Goddard 

David Barrett

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent

11 Feb 2015

The child sex abuse inquiry could begin as soon as early April and will have a “truth and reconciliation” role similar to the commission set up in the wake of post-apartheid South Africa, MPs have heard.

Justice Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand high court judge appointed as the new chairman of the inquiry, said she would allow survivors of sexual abuse “to be heard”.

Justice Goddard , who has been a high court judge for 18 years, also insisted that she was not part of the establishment in her native country.

“We don't have such a thing in my country,” she told the Commons' home affairs select committee.

“I did have to seek clarification on exactly what it meant.

“Do I have any links with any institution or any person related to the subject matter of the inquiry ? No, I don't.”

She added that apart from an investigative role the inquiry would also offer victims of child sex abuse the chance to seek “truth and reconciliation”.

“There will be an investigatory side to this but I see also scope and necessity for a truth and reconciliation type process,” the judge said.

“Survivors may wish to be heard in a way they feel they haven't been heard until now.

“What they wish to say they may wish to say in complete confidence. That will be their call.”

The inquiry would have “huge scale” but once she had completed an exercise looking at its scope, she expected to begin work in “very early April”, Justice Goddard said.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission began hearings in 1996 after the fall of apartheid.

Source : Daily Telegraph

Notre site