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5 December 2014updated 24 Jul 2021 3:32am

Crisis hits Theresa May’s inquiry into historic cases of child abuse as victims threaten to withdraw

It's make or break for the child sex abuse inquiry into historic cases, as Theresa May must stop victims walking away.

By Anoosh Chakelian

There is further turmoil for the child sex abuse inquiry into historic cases, as victim organisations threaten to withdraw support.

Theresa May has failed to find a suitable chair for the committee, and two successive appointees have had to resign due to close links to the establishment that is so under scrutiny regarding the historic allegations.

Eventually, this bungling led to 23 individuals, including victims, this week signing a letter condemning the inquiry as “not fit for purpose”, and that they would no longer cooperate. The letter said:

We, alongside many survivors, have made numerous representations to you regarding our view that the Inquiry as it stands is not fit for purpose.

The Home Office seems to be running the inquiry to meet others’ needs rather than those of survivors and the public.

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We therefore have little option but to end engagement with the Inquiry and call on other survivors, whistleblowers, associated professionals and agencies to follow suit.

Now the Telegraph is reporting that May faces a “make or break” meeting with with groups representing victims of child sex abuse, who are threatening to withdraw their cooperation from the inquiry. The groups she is meeting, such as the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, are planning to demand a list of changes to the way the inquiry is to be carried out.

Examples of these demands include the investigation being extended back from 1970 to 1945, and the current panel being scrapped and replaced with others appointed on a “transparent” basis.

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It is crucial that May’s meeting goes well, and that she listens carefully to the demands, to avoid the victims being let down by the establishment all over again.