News story

Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Panel members appointed

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Panel will consider whether public bodies and non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children.

The Home Secretary today (Tuesday 21 October) announced her appointments to the Independent Inquiry Panel which will consider child sexual abuse within institutions.

The Panel will consider whether, and to what extent, public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

Panel members

Sharon Evans, Ivor Frank, Dame Moira Gibb, Professor Jenny Pearce OBE, Dru Sharpling CBE and Professor Terence Stephenson will join Graham Wilmer MBE and Barbara Hearn OBE as panel members for the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Ben Emmerson QC is Counsel to the Inquiry, and Professor Alexis Jay OBE will serve as an expert adviser.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference which set out the scope of the Inquiry have also been published today.

The Inquiry will consider matters from 1970 to the present, and will include government departments, Parliament, the police, local authorities, churches and the Armed Forces.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

I am pleased to announce my appointments to the Independent Inquiry Panel which will consider whether, and to what extent, institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children.

The Panel represents a diverse range of experience which includes social care, academia, law enforcement, health, media, the voluntary sector and those with experience of child sexual abuse.

I have also published the terms of reference which set out the scope of the inquiry, which will be wide ranging.

I am confident that this panel, under the chairmanship of Fiona Woolf CBE, will carry out a robust and thorough inquiry, and will challenge institutions without fear or favour, in order to get to the bottom of this issue and stop it from happening again.

Fiona Woolf CBE, said:

I am pleased that all the members of the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse have now been appointed.

They bring a wide range of experience and expertise to the important work that lies ahead of us - to consider the extent to which state and non-state institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Panel will consider if and how such failings have been addressed and identify what further action is needed. Its scope will be wide-ranging and will include government departments, Parliament, the police, local authorities, churches and the Armed Forces.

The Panel’s conclusions and recommendations will be published and the immediate task is to determine the methodology in order to begin the process of gathering and assessing the existing evidence and deciding what further evidence is needed.

The Panel and will be submitting an interim report to the Home Secretary by the end of March 2015.

This is an inquiry of enormous public importance and I am honoured to be leading it. In the light of recent media reporting I have written to the Home Secretary, detailing my contacts with Lord and Lady Brittan as well as any other issues that might be relevant. I have published this letter on the Inquiry’s website.

I have assured the Home Secretary that there is nothing that could affect my ability to deal independently and impartially with the matters the Inquiry Panel will investigate. If I had any doubt about this I would not have accepted this appointment.

I look forward to beginning this vital work.

A website for the Inquiry has also been launched today.