THE refusal of a former chair of the inquiry into historical child abuse to give evidence has been branded “disgraceful” in a MP committee’s report published last night.
In a damning assessment of the ongoing fiasco surrounding the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the home affairs select committee condemned the refusal of Dame Lowell Goddard to give oral evidence and suggested she could be summoned to appear before the committee, “if she returns to the UK.”
The New Zealander, the third chair to quit the inquiry, stepped down after she was accused of using racist language and inappropriate behaviour, allegations she strenuously denies.
The committee also found that the inquiry’s response to internal allegations of bullying and sexual assault were “inadequate.”
A number of senior lawyers have resigned from the controversy-dogged probe including Ben Emmerson QC, who was forced to resign at the end of September amid allegations that he abused a female co-worker in the lift at its offices.
The committee stated that the work of the probe into historical child abuse is vital — but that confidence in the inquiry’s ability to deliver its objectives has been seriously damaged by a tide of scandals.
Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper said: “For the sake of survivors and child protection we need the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to be effective. But so far it has been beset by problems and it needs to sort them out fast.”
The inquiry was launched by Theresa May in 2014 after years of calls from the public and politicians to investigate allegations of child abuse within the government and other institutions.
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