Dame Lowell Goddard has resigned as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Goddard was appointed in February 2015, and is the third inquiry chair to quit the inquiry.
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Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down in July 2014 following questions about the role played by her late brother Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.
Dame Fiona Woolf, who replaced Baroness Butler-Sloss, resigned in October 2014, after it was revealed she had links to highly placed individuals, including former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died in 2015.
Goddard’s resignation letter has been published on the Home Office’s website
Sky News reports:
It comes amid reports she spent three months on holiday or abroad in her first year in the £500,000 job.
The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, reassured victims of abuse that “the work of the inquiry will continue without delay and a new chair will be appointed”.
Dame Lowell, a New Zealand judge, was appointed after two previous chairwomen quit.
The inquiry was established in 2014 to look at claims of a cover-up by the establishment, after allegations a paedophile ring operated in Westminster in the 1980s.
It has yet to hear any evidence from witnesses.
Dame Lowell’s letter reads: “I regret to advise that I am offering you my resignation as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sex Abuse, with immediate effect. I trust you will accept this decision.”
In a statement released after her resignation, she said she had found it difficult to leave behind New Zealand and her family, but suggested the controversies that have dogged the inquiry had proved insurmountable.
She said: “The conduct of any public inquiry is not an easy task, let alone one of the magnitude of this.
“Compounding the many difficulties was its legacy of failure which has been very hard to shake off and with hindsight it would have been better to have started completely afresh.
“While it has been a struggle in many respects, I am confident there have been achievements and some very real gains for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in getting their voices heard.
“I have nothing but the greatest of respect for the victims and survivors and have particularly enjoyed working with the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel which I established.”
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association of People Abused In Childhood, told Sky News he was “profoundly disappointed”.