In the first update of its kind since it launched, the nation’s Child Abuse Inquiry has announced that it will look to run 12 investigations in tandem, as part of the first phase of its work.

Those investigations include ear marked councils, religious organisations, schools, organised networks, the internet and prominent public figures accused of sexually abusing children. The Inquiry will also look at accountability and reparations for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

Noteworthy also, is the segment which will look at the protection of children outside the UK, and whilst it is not quite clear what this aspect of the investigation involves (the Q&A section does not tell us either), we very much hope this will include a look at the way children were illegally shipped to Australia from the UK, where they went on to be sexually abused on a mass scale.

Available information in the Q&A tells us that the Inquiry hopes to balance non recent allegations of abuse with current, urgent child abuse concerns within child protection.

The work load for this phase has been divided up amongst the Inquiry Team as follows:

  • Allegations of abuse by people of prominence in public life – led by the Chair, Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM
  • Education and religion – led by Panel member, Prof. Malcolm Evans OBE
  • Criminal Justice and law enforcement – led by Panel member, Drusilla Sharpling CBE
  • Local authorities and voluntary organisations – led by Panel member, Prof. Alexis Jay OBE
  • National and private service organisations – led by Panel member, Ivor Frank

The Inquiry has indicated that whilst some parts of their investigations may take around 18 months to complete, others may take several years. Preliminary hearings will take place in February 2016, and Chair Lowell Goddard hopes to complete the Inquiry as a whole within 5 years. No further deadlines or timescales have been given for other phases of the Inquiry’s work.

The BBC offer a good summary of the Inquiry’s current vision for its work, and a brief overview of its progress, if you’d like more details.

IICSA Nov 2015