Dame Lowell Goddard resigns as Head of the Goddard Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – with immediate effect and without explanation


Royal Court of Justice – London



4 August 2016 at 7:27pm

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

  • Video report by 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:

Dame Goddard's resignation letter to Amber Rudd.
Dame Goddard’s resignation letter to Amber Rudd. Credit: Gov.uk

Accepting the resignation, the Home Secretary said:

I can confirm that Dame Lowell Goddard wrote to me today to offer her resignation as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and I have accepted.

I want to assure everyone with an interest in the inquiry, particularly victims and survivors, that the work of the inquiry will continue without delay and a new chair will be appointed.

I would like to thank Dame Lowell Goddard for the contribution she has made in setting up the inquiry so that it may continue to go about its vital work.


Dame Goddard, a high court judge from New Zealand, was appointed chair of the long-delayed inquiry into child sex abuse in February, 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 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.

Our clients hope that the news of Dame Goddard’s resignation, the third resignation of a judge in an inquiry hampered by setbacks, does not further delay this fundamentally important process. It is incredibly important for survivors that the inquiry continues so the truth is uncovered and their voices are finally heard. It is crucial that the Home Secretary appoints a new chair as soon as possible so this can happen.


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.”

Last updated Thu 4 Aug 2016

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