The Times reports today, that the former chair of the national public inquiry into child abuse, asked the Home Secretary to review its remit, and expressed doubts about its scale. Dame Lowell Goddard apparently said that the inquiry should be re-calibrated towards current events.
This is unfortunate. The terms of the inquiry were set out some considerable time ago. Allegations of child abuse are in the main historic in nature, and consequently they arise from periods when the law and practice will have been different. That does not mean, however they are in some way less valuable to us in terms of lessons, than allegations of abuse occurring last year.
One particular example is that of Jimmy Saville. That case demonstrated how a celebrity was able to abuse in plain sight. One of the lessons learned should be around the vulnerability of children in the entertainment business.
The national inquiry was always going to be a massive task, but then the problem of child abuse in this country is a massive one, which needs to be addressed.
Malcolm Johnson, Specialist Child Abuse Lawyer