News story

Immunity guaranteed for whistleblowers in child sex abuse inquiry

Individuals providing certain evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse can do so without fear of prosecution

Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP QC

Immunity from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act will be offered to current or former public servants who are prepared to testify about allegations of child sex abuse to Lowell Goddard’s independent public inquiry, the Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has confirmed.

It will also protect individuals who are in possession of evidence relating to the Inquiry which they may be holding unlawfully. It will not protect anyone who admits taking part in child sexual abuse.

The written undertaking was provided at the request of Lowell Goddard after earlier claims that police officers were told that they would be violating the Official Secrets Act if they were to submit evidence relating to child abuse allegations.

The Rt Hon Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC said:

It is absolutely right that we do everything in our power to find out the truth behind these terrible allegations; to hold the perpetrators to account and to get answers for the victims.

With this undertaking we are sending a clear message that the government is taking the Inquiry seriously and is committed to ensuring that the work is done thoroughly.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was formally opened by Lowell Goddard, on 9 July 2015 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEII) Centre. In her opening statement she explained the scope of the inquiry and the various ways in which they are working with victims and survivors as it proceeds.

You can read full details the undertaking and the Inquiry can be found on the Inquiry website.

Published 9 July 2015