The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by the Hon. Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM, has launched 13 investigations into a broad range of institutions. One of these is into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Church of England, the Church in Wales and other Anglican churches operating in England and Wales.
The Inquiry will incorporate case specific investigations and a review of information available from published and unpublished reports and reviews, court cases and previous investigations in relation to child sexual abuse by those associated with the Anglican Church. These case studies will include amongst other issues: the nature and extent of abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese of Chichester; the failure of the Church of England, the Diocese and public authorities and statutory agencies to protect children; and the sexual offending by the former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball, including the extent to which organisations failed to respond appropriately to allegations of abuse by Peter Ball.
The inquiry sat today in a preliminary hearing into this investigation to decide procedural matters including:
- Applications for designation as Core Participants;
- Submissions on the scope of the investigation;
- Broadcast of proceedings;
- Timetable for further hearings and applications for anonymity and funding under s.40 of the Inquiries Act 2005; and
- Further applications from those designated as Core Participants.
- In light of their investigations, the Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learned and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales. Follow this link to access the Inquiry's Terms of Reference.
Ashley Underwood QC of Cornerstone Barristers represents Sussex Police in this investigation. Sussex Police have been made Core Participants in the Anglican Church investigation of the Inquiry. Ashley was Counsel to the Robert Hamill Inquiry, the Azelle Rodney Inquiry and the Inquest touching the death of Mark Duggan. He was Counsel to the Coroner for the In Amenas Inquests, dealing with intelligence issues. In addition, he has advised Government departments and Coroners in relation to investigations and has been retained to train Coroners in relation to the use of Counsel and to the treatment of sensitive materials.