The Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM, has announced that Nottinghamshire will be one of 12 investigations in the first phase of the Inquiry’s work.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, (IICSA, also known as the Goddard Inquiry) has been set up to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.
Both Nottinghamshire’s Chief Constable, Chris Eyre, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, have sincerely welcomed this announcement. They have held discussions with the Inquiry team over the last eight months to encourage this focus on Nottinghamshire and the ongoing work with survivors of historical sexual abuse.
PCC Paddy Tipping said: “This is a huge step in the right direction and I’m really grateful that the Goddard team has listened to our appeals for Nottinghamshire to become part of the national inquiry.
“I have met a good many of the survivors and they have impressed upon me the importance of this inquiry and their wish to have the opportunity to tell their story and to have that story heard. I hope that they find today’s announcement supportive in their ongoing recovery.
“While I am aware that many people have already told the police about their experiences, it’s really important for anyone else who believes they may have been a victim of abuse to come forward and report their story. They can choose to either go the police or one of the specialist support groups who will help to guide them through the process.
“I understand that it must be a very difficult thing to do, but I can assure people that what they say will be treated seriously and with sensitivity. But I most strongly appeal to anyone who feels they have been abused while in care to use this Inquiry as the incentive they need to come forward. Their voices must be heard.
“I look forward to supporting the Inquiry as it moves to its next phase.”
CC Chris Eyre said: “I am pleased that Justice Goddard has chosen to focus one strand of her work in Nottinghamshire. Our victims need to be heard. I am confident that the Inquiry will allow them a voice without compromising the ongoing and extremely complex criminal investigations and criminal justice proceedings.
“The Inquiry will enable our partners to show the work they have done to review the care provided to children in the care system, demonstrate how they responded to changes in Government policy, and show their response to failings identified locally and across the country over the period considered by the Inquiry.”
The Inquiry’s work will complement Nottinghamshire Police’s ongoing complex and challenging criminal investigations into historic child abuse; the Local Authorities’ extensive and detailed review that has already been undertaken into the provision of children’s care homes; and the work of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s independent safeguarding boards.
The inquiry is independent of government, and is led by Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM, supported by a Panel, a Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel, and other expert advisers.
Nottinghamshire Police has two major investigations into historical abuse in care homes in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
These investigations commenced in 2010 and, to date, are into offences reported by 263 victims. They span the period from the late 1940s to the turn of the millennium and involve a range of incidents, from chastisement by staff which would not have been criminal offences at the time they occurred, to the most serious sexual and physical assaults. The investigations are staffed by experienced SIOs and investigators. The investigations have been periodically reviewed by the College of Policing, Metropolitan Police and Leicestershire Police.
These are amongst the most complex and challenging investigations ever run by the force because of the time that has passed since the offences were committed, the difficulty with securing corroborative evidence, the difficulty with identifying and locating witnesses. Many care home records that cover the period of the earlier offences no-longer exist. Victims have been unable to name the offenders in more than 40% of the cases.
PCC Paddy Tipping: Sallie Blair 07702 541401
CC Chris Eyre: Elizabeth Webster – 07810 655900
Posted on Friday 27th November 2015