Dame Lowell Goddard resigns as head of Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker

Dame Lowell Goddard has resigned as head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.

Following the announcement, Dame Goddard said she was "confident there have been achievements and some very real gains for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in getting their voices heard".

Dame Goddard's resignation letter has been published on the Home Office's website:

Accepting the resignation, the Home Secretary said:

Dame Goddard, a high court judge from New Zealand, was appointed chair of the long-delayed inquiry into child sex abuse in February 2015, after two previous choices stood down over concerns about their links to establishment figures.

  • Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down in July 2014 amid questions about the role played by her late brother Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.

  • Dame Fiona Woolf, Baroness Butler-Sloss's replacement, resigned in October 2014, after she was criticised for her links to highly placed individuals, including former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died in 2015.

Survivors' groups had welcomed Dame Goddard's appointment after she pledged to spearhead a "robust" and "independent" investigation into historical child sex abuse.

However, she courted controversy amid allegations that she spent over 70 days working abroad or on holiday.

Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents more than 50 victims giving evidence at the inquiry, said he hopes the resignation does not cause further delays.

A National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children spokesman said: "Whatever the reasons for Judge Lowell Goddard's decision to stand down it is essential that the inquiry continues with minimum disruption and a replacement chair is found urgently.

"Victims and survivors have already waited too long to have their voices heard and for the abuse they suffered as children to be acknowledged and believed."