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New chair of Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry is announced

The Home Secretary has revealed the new chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse following the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard this month.

Dame Goddard announced her resignation saying that when she was approached to chair the inquiry, she knew it was a “difficult step to take” as it meant relinquishing her career in New Zealand and leaving her family behind.

As she resigned, Dame Goddard said: “While it has been a struggle in many respects I am confident there have been achievements and some very real gains for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in getting their voices heard. I have nothing but the greatest of respect for the victims and survivors and have particularly enjoyed working with the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel which I established.

However, a week later Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that Professor Alexis Jay will lead the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Professor Jay led the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham which found that at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Professor Alexis Jay said: “I am committed to ensuring this inquiry does everything it has set out to do and does so with pace, with confidence and with clarity.

“I am determined to overcome the challenges along the way. I will lead the largest public inquiry of its kind and together with my fellow panel members we will fearlessly examine institutional failures, past and present and make recommendations so that the children of England and Wales are better protected now and in the future,” added Professor Jay.

Ms Rudd welcomed the appointment praising Professor Jay’s “strong track record in uncovering the truth”.

“I have no doubt she will run this independent inquiry with vigour, compassion and courage,” she added.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield also welcomed the appointment. “Her knowledge in the field of child sexual abuse and the determination she demonstrated in uncovering the truth in Rotherham provide every reassurance that she will lead the inquiry effectively. It is good news that such an experienced and high calibre appointment has been made so quickly and that the inquiry can continue with its important work.”

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Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Progress in production of code for civil claimants of child sexual abuse

26/02/2021

Work is underway for a code to be produced for the benefit of claimants who are bringing civil claims for child sexual abuse.

In its Accountability and Reparations Inquiry , the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse recommended that The International Underwriting Association of London should take the lead in the production of a code [...]

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Bill introduced to see all crimes committed by under-18s dealt with in youth courts

25/02/2021

A bill has been introduced to Parliament which would ensure that all children are dealt with by the youth courts rather than the adult courts if the alleged crime is carried out before the child reaches 18.

Rob Butler, former magistrate in both adult and youth courts, a member of the Youth Justice Board, a non-executive [...]

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Rise in parental drug and alcohol misuse since first lockdown

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The NSPCC has seen a rapid increase in contacts from members of the public that children are being put at risk as a result of parental drug and alcohol misuse.

Since April 2020, the number of people contacting the children’s charity with concerns about drug and alcohol misuse among parents has risen by 66%. Between January [...]

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