Alexis Jay to lead national child abuse inquiry

By Neil Puffett

| 11 August 2016

The head of a probe into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has been appointed to lead the national inquiry into historic child abuse, it has been announced.

Professor Alexis Jay's 2014 report on Rotherham found that as many as 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013. Picture: Parliament TV

Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced today that Professor Alexis Jay will lead the inquiry following the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard last week.

Jay's independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which was published in 2014, found that as many as 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Jay was previously among the panel of advisers taking part in the investigation. She becomes the fourth chair of the inquiry since it was estbalished in 2014.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "The independent inquiry has a vital role to play in exposing the failure of public bodies and other major organisations to prevent systematic child sexual abuse.

"I'm delighted Professor Alexis Jay has agreed to chair the inquiry. She has a strong track record in uncovering the truth and I have no doubt she will run this independent inquiry with vigour, compassion and courage.

"Let there be no doubt; our commitment to this inquiry is undiminished. We owe it to victims and survivors to confront the appalling reality of how children were let down by the very people who were charged to protect them and to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Professor Alexis Jay said: "I am committed to ensuring this inquiry does everything it has set out to do and does so with pace, with confidence and with clarity.

"The inquiry is open for business and people are busier than ever working hard to increase momentum. The panel and I are determined to make progress on all parts of the inquiry's work, including speaking to victims and survivors.

"I am determined to overcome the challenges along the way. I will lead the largest public inquiry of its kind and together with my fellow panel members we will fearlessly examine institutional failures, past and present and make recommendations so that the children of England and Wales are better protected now and in the future."

Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England said Jay's knowledge in the field of child sexual abuse and the determination she demonstrated in uncovering the truth in Rotherham provide reassurance that she will be lead the inquiry effectively. 

"It is good news that such an experienced and high calibre appointment has been made so quickly and that the inquiry can continue with its important work," she added.

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