Pilot hearings begin next week in which survivors of child abuse across the UK will be able to give evidence in private.
The first hearings begin in Liverpool next Tuesday and will hear testimony from survivors across the North West and north Wales.
Part of the independent child abuse inquiry chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard, other regional hearings will follow those in Liverpool to enable other survivors across the UK to give evidence in private.
The Truth Project
The hearings are a pilot phase of The Truth Project, where survivors of abuse are invited to share their experiences either by attending a hearing in person or by providing a written statement.
Although not part of a legal process, the hearings will refer any allegations of ongoing abuse to police. Separate public hearings will be held at a later date where witnesses will be required to give evidence under oath.
Justice Goddard hopes that the hearings will help paint a broader picture of the scale of institutionalised child abuse and help understand why abuse went undetected for so long. Speaking at a launch event in Liverpool earlier this week, Justice Goddard called upon survivors to get in touch with The Truth Project, saying: "If you have suffered, because any organisation within England or Wales has failed in its duty to protect you as a child from sexual abuse, we want to hear from you."
The inquiry as a whole will look into whether public bodies – and other institutions such as schools, hospitals and children’s homes – have taken their duty of care to protect children seriously enough.
At Slater and Gordon, our specialist abuse lawyers are currently representing over 800 survivors of child sex abuse, many of whom have suffered abuse in institutions and by people in positions of trust. We are committed to helping the inquiry as much as we can – both in the interests of the survivors we currently represent and those whom we have represented in the past.
We hope the Liverpool hearings are the first step in fully exposing the reality of institutionalised child abuse and the first step in ensuring such appalling crimes do not go undetected again.
Oliver Jeffcott is an associate solicitor specialising in child abuse claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London
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