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Abuse survivors seek changes to inquiry

Abuse survivors seek changes to inquiry

Child abuse survivors have welcomed reports that a panel looking into allegations of crimes could be scrapped and replaced.

In a letter to the members of the current panel, Theresa May opened the possibility of disbanding the current structure and handing a new body statutory powers.

Dozens of survivors and representative groups have written to the Home Secretary asking her to allow the inquiry to compel witnesses to give evidence and for a police team to work alongside the investigation.

Speaking this morning, Peter Saunders, who heads the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, backed changes to the personnel examining the allegations.

“I have yet to encounter any survivors themselves who have any confidence in the process and in the panel as it is currently constituted,” he told the Today programme.

Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald also urged Ms May to start again from scratch with a more narrowly focused probe.

"She should start again, she should go for something much more focused on the future and she should let the police get on with their serious, forensic and tough investigations into this category of crime," he told the World at One.

But Simon Danczuk, a Labour MP who was one of the leading voices in calling for an abuse inquiry, accused the Government of making “deliberate mistakes” in its handling of the panel and said survivors would believe there was another cover-up going on.

“You can’t help thinking that they aren’t intent on getting this right,” he told the Today programme.

He added that he believed abuse survivors would turn to forms of “direct action” because of the issues with the inquiry.

Speaking after Mr Danczuk, Mr Saunders made clear that he had no questions about the intentions of Ms May, who he said had “stuck her neck out” to set up the inquiry.

Tory MP Tim Loughton added that he believed Mr Danczuk’s comment was “really unhelpful”.

Labour's John Mann, meanwhile, said lifting Official Secrets Act restrictions on Special Branch officers with information on historical abuse is "the most vital thing that Theresa May needs to do" to further the progress of the inquiry.

"The restrictions of the Official Secrets Act in relation to historic child abuse need to be lifted by Theresa May or by Parliament if that’s what’s required in order that those people actually in reality feel compelled to come forward and share the information that they have, because don’t forget – Special Branch was keeping an eye, particularly on senior MPs, and there’s a lot of information there that is not available to those police officers investigating at the moment," he told Sky News.


Green Box: Abuse survivors seek changes to inquiryClick to open

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