Goddard Inquiry – today’s developments

Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM has today announced in detail the initial 12 investigations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The Inquiry has previously explained that it will hold case studies which will be across the five designated workstreams. The announcement today includes the first investigations which will form the basis of the initial case studies. These are as follows:

People of Prominence in Public Life

  • Westminster – past and current MPs, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies

Religion & Education

  • Roman Catholic Church – English Benedictine Congregation
  • Anglican Church – Diocese of Chichester and Bishop Peter Ball
  • Residential schools – state and independent

Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement

  • Custodial situations – Medomsley Detention Centre

Local Authorities & Voluntary Organisations

  • Lambeth Council
  • Nottinghamshire Councils
  • Rochdale Council – Cambridge House & Knowl View

National & Private Service Organisations

  • Internet service providers and the work of NCA-UK, CEOP-UK and the police

In addition there are three further investigations which cut across the work streams:

  1. The Protection of Children Outside of the UK – The Inquiry, whilst focused on England & Wales, has indicated that its remit will include institutions based in England & Wales which recruit people to work abroad. It will consider if the UK justice system is equipped to address the potential for abuse overseas by those known to authorities. It will also consider if the duty to protect children has been taken seriously by armed forces, government departments, public authorities, private and/or charitable institutions which have sent or placed children abroad.
  2. Child Exploitation by Organised networks – this will include consideration of institutional responses in Devon, Cornwall, Oxford, Rochdale, Rotherham and Telford.
  3. The Accountability and Reparations for victims and survivors of abuse. There will be an investigation into whether existing services and legal remedies for victims and survivors effectively deliver reparation for the harm they have suffered. There will be consideration of whether current support and compensation mechanisms hinder delivery of the right to truth, accountability and compensation. The scope of the investigation includes the extent to which the current model of insurance and/or the practice of insurance companies may have obstructed the delivery of some or all elements of reparation.

The Inquiry is not yet accepting applications for core participant status or requesting evidence. Details will be circulated in due course. The procedural timescales for the investigations will be published in early 2016.

Regional offices will be established in Liverpool, Cardiff, Darlington, the South West, London and the South East. These will gradually open from Spring to Autumn 2016. These will facilitate the opportunity for victims and survivors to contribute to the Truth Project.

What does this mean for you?

Those organisations and individuals which will be directly involved in the investigations announced now should be preparing for contributing to and working with the Inquiry, in particular in identifying documentation and witnesses to assist in the investigation.

Organisations which are not as yet specifically named in these investigations should still be preparing now for their future involvement in future investigations which will follow. Primarily all organisations should be ensuring that they have in place and are implementing policies and procedures to keep children safe and protected.

The accountability and reparations investigation has the potential for seismic changes in civil compensation. The civil compensation system has for years now been grappling with modern day challenges arising from the perceived compensation culture, whiplash claims, fraud etc. This could be the opportunity to bring about widespread change which will not only be of benefit to victims and survivors of child abuse.

One final observation is that these 12 investigations are on an unprecedented scale and will involve complex evidential gathering exercises from organisations across all daily life. At times of financial pressures and demands on resources particularly within the police and the public sector the contribution to these investigations will need to be carefully considered. The Inquiry has an initial budget for its first year of £17.9m, that will quickly be depleted.

We have produced a summary to help and support you in your preparation. You can access that document in our client area here.

 


Author

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Written by Paula Jefferson, partner

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