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'Daunting' task ahead for child sex abuse inquiry

The chair of a major independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse has warned of the "daunting" task ahead as it was officially opened.

Judge Lowell Goddard said the abuse of children had left "scars" on society as well as the victims.

The inquiry - which was set up last year amid claims of an establishment cover-up - has been beset by controversies and delays, including the resignation of two previous chairs.

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Tom Watson: Inquiry will face 'epidemic of abuse'

Tom Watson has warned of an 'epidemic of abuse'.

Labour MP Tom Watson has warned that an independent inquiry opening today will have to deal with an "epidemic" of historical child sex abuse.

Watson, who first called for investigations into an alleged Westminster paedophile ring in 2012, said the inquiry must "meticulously" investigate "failures" that contributed to the alleged abuse - not just in public services and child protection systems but also other institutions.

The inquiry will open today in Westminster, with chair Justice Lowell Goddard outlining how evidence will be taken, timescales and areas of public life that will be examined.

Victims' representatives have complained about delays to the launch of the inquiry, which followed the resignations of two previous chairs, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf.

While some have expressed their lack of confidence in the inquiry, Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers - which is acting for a number of survivors - said its importance "cannot be underestimated".

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