Abuse lawyer Alison Millar has reacted with dismay to the news that Dame Lowell Goddard has resigned as chair of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, the third chair to do so.

Alison Millar, who acts for adults who were abused as children, says she is “saddened by any pause in what is the most important inquiry currently taking place in the UK, an inquiry which we hope will safeguard future generations of children by shining a light on historic failings within UK institutions.”

Goddard resigned as chair of the inquiry yesterday. The inquiry was set up in July 2014 by the then Home Secretary Teresa May to consider whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

The news comes as the latest annual crime survey from the Office for National Statistics reveals that 11% of women and 3% of men say they were sexually abused as minors.

Alison added:

“This is particularly disappointing when the IICSA has started to make progress engaging with survivors and their representatives who will participate in the public hearings, starting early next year, but also many survivors, including some of our clients, have taken the brave step of sharing their experiences in private sessions.

We urge the Government to quickly appoint a suitable chairperson who will continue the essential work already undertaken by the inquiry and which has led to testimony being given by survivors who have until now remained unheard. We are aware from our clients that they have been waiting often many years for a proper investigation, which will get at the truth of institutional failure and potential cover-up, and it is vital that no momentum is lost.”