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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

May appoints chair of inquiry into child sexual abuse

Home Secretary Theresa May has today announced the appointment of the Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE to lead an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. Baroness Butler-Sloss is a former president of the Family Division of the High Court and chaired the Cleveland Child Abuse Inquiry. The new inquiry was announced in the House of Commons yesterday and will consider whether and the extent to which public bodies and other important institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

It will seek to address public concern over failings exposed by appalling cases of child sex abuse, including by celebrities such as Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris. Work is under way to finalise membership of the panel and agree terms of reference for the inquiry.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "In recent years, we have seen appalling cases of organised and persistent child sex abuse that have exposed serious failings by public bodies and important institutions. That is why the government has established an independent panel of experts to consider whether these organisations have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse. I am pleased to announce today that Baroness Butler-Sloss has been appointed to lead this inquiry. I look forward to an update on the panel's progress in Parliament before May next year."

Baroness Butler-Sloss said: "I'm honoured to have been invited to lead this inquiry. The next step is to appoint the panel and agree the terms of reference. We will begin this important work as soon as possible."