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Dame Lowell Goddard Resigns as Head of Child Sex Abuse Inquiry

By Media Executive

Dame Lowell Goddard Resigns as Head of Child Sex Abuse Inquiry

Dame Lowell Goddard has become the third person to step down as chairperson of an inquiry into child sex abuse.

The independent inquiry was announced in July 2014 and has, to date, launched 13 investigations into claims of child abuse against public and private institutions in England and Wales. 

The New Zealander, who was appointed in February last year, cited the inquiry’s “legacy of failure” in her decision to quit following the previous resignations of Dame Fiona Woolf and Baroness Butler-Sloss.

In a statement, Justice Goddard, 67, said: "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."

Following her resignation, Justice Goddard has now been asked to appear before MPs to explain her decision.

Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said in a statement: "I want to assure everyone with an interest in the inquiry, particularly victims and survivors, that the work of the inquiry will continue without delay.

"I would like to thank Dame Lowell Goddard for the contribution she has made in setting up the inquiry so that it may continue to go about its vital work."

In accepting Justice Goddard’s resignation, she wrote: "I know how personally committed you have been to ensuring that the inquiry is a success for those at its heart: the survivors and the victims.

"You have consistently demonstrated your desire to leave no stone unturned in order that the voices of those victims might be heard.

"It is a testament to your commitment that you have taken the difficult decision to stand down now, having set the inquiry firmly on course, and allow someone else to lead it through to the end. With regret, I agree that this is the right decision."