The Child Abuse Enquiry

Beatrix Campbell in the Guardian, ‘Lowell Goddard has told us what we know – that sexual crimes against children are too big, too tolerated and altogether too much. Goddard, the New Zealand judge who resigned from the inquiry into historical child abuse last month, said in a memo to MPs that there was “an inherent problem in the sheer scale and size of the inquiry. . . Sexual abuse of children is one of the great issues of our time. For decades it loitered on the doorsteps of institutions, with nowhere to go . . .

Unlike the Iraq war inquiry, or the Hillsborough inquiry, this is not about one time and place, but about everywhere: all bodies with any responsibility for children – from police to schools, churches, the justice system, the NHS, private schools and public charities – are implicated. Some have been named. I’m currently updating my book Unofficial Secrets, on the Cleveland child abuse crisis 30 years ago. It was a controversy about medical evidence of abuse and how to respond to it.

An inquiry chaired by Elizabeth Butler-Sloss – the same judge appointed in 2014 to lead the new inquiry, before she resigned under pressure over family links – was the defining moment in our era of child-abuse politics: it was a model of not-knowing, of not answering the questions on everyone’s lips.’ click here.