After the disappointing news that yet another Inquiry Chair is leaving the role, racking up the total to three failed Chairmanships, reasons for Lowell Goddard’s departure are now starting to emerge.

In a full statement released this morning, Lowell Goddard blames the Inquiry’s “legacy of failure’ which she said, had been “very hard to shake off”.


You can read the letter in full, below:

“I announce with regret my decision to resign as chair of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, effective from today.

When I was first approached through the British High Commissioner in Wellington in late 2014, and asked to consider taking up the role, I had to think long and hard about it.

After carefully discussing the matter with the home secretary and her officials and seeking the counsel of those people in New Zealand whose opinions mattered to me, I decided that I should undertake the role, given my relevant experience and track record in the area.

It was, however, an incredibly difficult step to take, as it meant relinquishing my career in New Zealand and leaving behind my beloved family.

The conduct of any public inquiry is not an easy task, let alone one of the magnitude of this. Compounding the many difficulties was its legacy of failure which has been very hard to shake off and with hindsight it would have been better to have started completely afresh.

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.”

As Goddard points out, and as we mention in our previous post, the Inquiry must refocus and put in place an altogether more open and functional strategy. We will be writing an article in due course on how they might do this.