An independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of children has been dealt another blow after hundreds of alleged victims of abuse threatened to boycott it.
Former inmates at Medomsley detention centre in Consett, County Durham, where abuser Neville Husband preyed on children and young adults over a 15-year period from the late 1960s onwards, have written to their lawyers stating that they want to withdraw from the inquiry after learning that it will not hear evidence from people who were aged 18 or over at the time they were abused.
The inquiry has been beset by problems. This week Dame Lowell Goddard, the third chair to resign, sent a 10-page critique of its setup to the home affairs select committee, calling for a complete review and remodelling to focus it “more towards current events and thus focusing major attention on the present and future protection of children”. She said the scope of the inquiry, including every state and non-state institution, meant that “the terms of reference in their totality cannot be met”.
On Wednesday the inquiry was further undermined when another group of victims, Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, threatened to pull out after suggesting that the independence of the inquiry had been undermined by the fact that the new chair, Prof Alexis Jay, had spent 30 years working in social services.
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