The Independent Inquiry into
Gudrun Limbrick, January 2016
The Inquiry was opened in July 2015. This page attempts to outline the main features of the Inquiry and how people can be involved with the process.
If you have any involvement with the Inquiry, we would very much to hear and perhaps share your perspective to help people understand what the process is all about. Please email. Thank you.
The Inquiry is intending to consider whether public and other large institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from abuse, that is, whether organisations have done enough to prevent (or perhaps expose) abuse.
What the Inquiry does NOT intend to do is to look at individual cases of abuse and judge whether accused individuals are guilty or not. This is not to say that individual cases will not be included in the inquiry.
Specifically, the Inquiry has said it will achieve the following:
“We will identify institutional failings where they are found to exist.
“We will demand accountability for past institutional failings.
“We will support victims and survivors to share their experience of sexual abuse.
“And we will make practical recommendations to ensure that children are given the care and protection they need.”
The Inquiry was set up after the appalling abuse revelations in 2012 and 2013 from the Jimmy Saville scandal and subsequent revelations about other prominent individuals (more on this here).
The Inquiry was initially plagued with controversy. Lady Butler-Sloss was appointed to chair the inquiry but it was thought by some campaigners that she could not be fully independent as her brother was Attorney General from 1979 to 1987 – a period within the remit of the investigation and a role which could arguably have had some responsibility to act on allegations of abuse. Days after her appointment, she has resigned. The next Chair, Fiona Woolf also resigned, after a little over a month, because of concerns about her independence.
In February 2015, it was announced that the new Chair would be (a third woman) Dame Lowell Goddard QC who is actually a High Court judge in New Zealand (and thus, we hope, has limited links with the UK people and organisations under investigation). The Inquiry was given the full powers of a statutory inquiry (ie. the Inquiry can compel witnesses to attend and give evidence).
July 2014 – the idea launched
February 2015 – Chair appointed
July 2015 – Inquiry opened
November 2015 – first 12 investigations announced:
The Chair: Hon Lowell Goodard QC – New Zealand judge
Professor Malcolm Evans OBE an international lawyer specialising in freedom of religion and prevention of torture
Ivor Frank a barrister with experience in child protection, human rights and family law
Professor Alexis Jay OBE a former director of social services who led the inquiry intochild sexual exploitation in Rotherham
Drusilla Sharpling CBE a former chief Crown prosecutor who subsequently inspected policing responses to child abuse
The Inquiry is also supported by a substantial legal team, as well as:
The Victims and Survivors’ Consultative Panel
The Victims and Survivors’ Forum
Any victim or survivor who wishes to be part of the Forum will be able to register to be a member and receive updates on the work of the Inquiry. The Inquiry will arrange for the Forum to have open public meetings four times a year. Those wanting to join the Forum should send an email marked ‘Victims and Survivors Forum’ to email@example.com.
As a survivor or victim of childhood sexual abuse, you can be part of The Victims and Survivors’ Forum which is intended to inform the work of the Inquiry, see above.
Additionally, The Inquiry is asking for people to share their experiences, specifically people who were abused as children in an institution such as a care home, school, or a religious, community or state organisation, or who first came into contact with their abuser in such an institution. This, then, includes people who were abused in all types of children’s homes or who were abused by someone they met in or through a children’s home.
They also want to hear form anyone who reported their childhood abuse to a person in authority such as a police officer or teacher who ignored the report or didn’t act upon it properly.
As far as we are aware, your submissions do not have to relate to the 12 specific investigations above in order to be considered by the Inquiry.
The Inquiry has provided an online form to make these reports initially. You can then meet with a member of the inquiry to share your experience or you can make a written statement. You can be anonymous or not – it is up to you.
These experiences will be used to inform the Inquiry. The Inquiry also says your experiences may also be summarised (without your name or any other personalising information) in the report.
Please note what the Inquiry says about passing your information onto the police:
“We are required to pass on any information about child abuse to the police.
“However we will not pass your name and contact details to the police without your consent, unless it is necessary to protect a child who is at risk of continuing abuse.”
If you wish to make a submission, the online form can be found here: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/share-your-experience
The website of the Inquiry can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk
Questions can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
They have a free number helpline 0800 917 1000
If you have made a submission, or you are a member of the Victims and Survivors' Forum, we would be very interested to hear how you have found the process and what you would say to someone else who was thinking of getting involved.
And what are you thoughts about the Inquiry? Do you welcome it? Do you think it will achieve anything?
Please let us know your thoughts by email. Thank you.
This is a very complex topic and things are changing very quickly. If there are any inaccuracies in this article, please contact me immediately to make a correction. Thank you.
To look for information about children's homes on this website, please use our search facility.
For more information on historic abuse please see our page here.