Survivors offered a ‘strong voice’ in the inquiry

An announcement by the Home Secretary that will see the removal of a cut-off date for claims that can be investigated as part of the reformed statutory inquiry into child abuse has today been welcomed by leading abuse law experts.

The news comes as Theresa May announced a new four person panel which will include Professor Alexis Jay, Druisilla Sharpling, Ivor Frank and Malcolm Evans – supported by a number of expert advisers in the fields of health, education and psychology.

In a written statement to MPs Mrs May said that Justice Lowell Goddard would be writing to survivors and their representatives with a view to creating a survivors and victims’ consultative panel. She also said that survivors have been ‘instrumental’ in the setting up the inquiry.

But despite welcoming the progress, campaigners said they would be monitoring closely how a panel that still does not include a survivor of abuse question witnesses, and the recommendations it makes.

Alison Millar from the law firm Leigh Day, which is representing dozens of abuse victims, said: 'We welcome today’s announcement from the Home Secretary that survivors will be able to contribute to the reformed statutory inquiry into child abuse.

“This will give victims the opportunity to share their direct experiences, which should include how any complaints voiced were received and processed so that lessons can be fully learned where the institutional response has been lacking. Moreover that support will be made available to survivors which is most important.

“Whilst also welcome news that there is intent to create a survivors' consultative panel to sit alongside the newly appointed panel, though it has been noted by my clients that there are no people who have disclosed childhood abuse appointed to sit alongside Justice Lowell Goddard.

“My clients will be monitoring closely how this will work and what voice survivors will have in the questioning of witnesses by the inquiry and its ultimate recommendations.”