Goddard Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

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On 9 July 2015, the Goddard Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse began. Justice Goddard gave an opening statement, setting out the principles of the independent inquiry.


2. The task ahead of us is daunting. The sexual abuse of children over successive generations has left permanent scars, not only on the victims themselves, but on society as a whole. This Inquiry provides a unique opportunity to expose past failures of institutions to protect children, to confront those responsible, to uncover systemic failures, to provide support to victims and survivors in sharing their experiences, and to make recommendations that will help prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the future. An Inquiry on this scale requires a focused approach, with defined objectives from the outset, and a working structure that is clear and practical. It also requires complete objectivity. That implies a commitment to hear all sides with an open mind, without any pre-judgment about the issues, and under conditions which provide a fair opportunity for all of those affected by the Inquiry to share their experiences and put their points across.

3. The Panel has adopted three guiding principles that will shape the Inquiry’s work – it must be comprehensive; it must be inclusive; and it must be thorough. These guiding principles call for a combination of approaches. […]

The full text of the opening statement can be viewed here.

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