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Statement from the Chair

17 October 2016

Update on the Internal Review of the Inquiry by Prof Alexis Jay

The Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has today set out her strategy to ensure the Inquiry meets its remit to recommend measures to better protect children in the future.

But Professor Alexis Jay was clear that the Inquiry would hold true to its commitment to look at past and present failings by institutions in England and Wales.

Professor Jay also set out four thematic strands that will be the focus of  our work and recommendations across all the institutions the Inquiry is examining.   This will ensure the big changes that will have the most impact on better protection for children.

The four strands are:

  • Cultural: examining the attitudes, behaviours and values within institutions that prevent us from stopping child sexual abuse.

  • Structural: looking at the legislative, governance and organisational frameworks within and between institutions.

  • Financial: considering the financial, funding and resource arrangements for relevant institutions and services.

  • Professional and political: focusing on the leadership, professional and practice issues for those working or volunteering in relevant institutions.

Professor Jay said:

“I want to focus on prevention without neglecting the past.  Lessons have to be learnt from institutional failures and any cover-ups that have come to light.  Only in this way can we look to the future with confidence.  I regard calls for us to forget the past with a degree of scepticism, not least because some institutions may have the most to hide and a vested interest in not turning a spotlight on what happened in the past.  We will remain vigilant for other issues that may arise but this framework will provide the right basis for planning, prioritising and delivering the Inquiry's work.”

Professor Jay added that taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach to all its investigations would mean that the Inquiry would never finish its work.

She said:

“A significant amount of work has been completed in relation to the review.  If we form the view that change to our existing investigations may be necessary, we will ask the relevant core participants, and any others who are directly affected for their views, before any decision is taken.

“I believe that concerns that our Terms of Reference cannot be delivered are founded on an assumption that we must seek to replicate a traditional public inquiry in respect of each of the thousands of institutions that fall within our remit. We will do so for some, but we would never finish if we did it for all.

“Our approach is intended to fulfill the commitment I made on my appointment - to ensure that the Inquiry is driven forward with pace, confidence and clarity.  By doing so, the panel and I believe that we can make substantial progress towards completing the Inquiry by the end of 2020.”

A full statement can be found in the library section of our website

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