Although the new Chair for the nation’s Statutory Inquiry into Child Abuse, Justice Lowell Goddard confirmed earlier this week in a meeting with the Home Affairs Committee that she would need to travel to and from her native New Zealand in the next few weeks to get her affairs in order, she also promised to get the ball rolling.
And that she has. In the last few days, we have been told that Scotland is likely to remain outside of the Inquiry’s scope, choosing to deal with such matters themselves, and that Northern Ireland may well be included, subject to Justice Goddard reviewing the request and satisfying herself that there would be no major overlap with their own current inquiry into child abuse.
The latest development now relates to the number of years the inquiry is likely to go back for its investigation. Sources are saying that Justice Goddard is looking to find a suitable starting point for looking at child abuse in the UK, with 1945 being suggested by some as a good place to begin. However, Justice Goddard is acutely aware that cut-off points are not always a rational way to frame an inquiry as people who have been abused prior to the starting point inevitably go unheard, and unaided. Goddard is said to be looking into the issue and hopes to find a starting point that’s suitable.We are told Home Secretary Theresa May is also supporting an extension of the time frame.
As always though, these inquiries are riddled with moral dilemmas emanating from every quarter. This news item looks at the potential pitfalls and problems with the child abuse inquiry in relation to information sharing in child abuse allegations involving MI5 and other secret service details. Justice Goddard and Theresa May have a task on their hands ensuring that child abuse atrocities are not swept under the carpet in favour of protecting state secrets.
And Labour has jumped onto the child abuse bandwagon with their latest proposals to make failures to report child abuse a crime and to teach children about sex from the age of five. Given that most labour politicians couldn’t stay five minutes to hear Theresa May’s historic announcement on the child abuse inquiry recently, we hope no one will take their shoddy attempt at trying to win votes seriously. They may though take the view that it ain’t over til the fat lady on the pink bus sings……