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MP fears over abuse probe timeframe

Published 17/05/2015

Simon Danczuk said he could not see why an inquiry should take so long
Simon Danczuk said he could not see why an inquiry should take so long

A campaigning MP is "very concerned" about claims that the long-delayed inquiry into historic child sex abuse could go on for eight years.

Labour's Simon Danczuk said it could be a case of civil servants being "overly cautious" but added that the inquiry needs to be "more efficient".

The probe, headed by New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard, may not publish its final report until 2023, according to The Sunday Times.

Tapes leaked to the newspaper are said to have featured a senior Home Office official saying the inquiry could "go on for eight years" during a meeting with campaigners last month.

Reacting to the report, Mr Danczuk said: "I'm very concerned that it might take that long. Many of the survivors of child sexual abuse have already had to wait a long time since many of these crimes were committed.

"It's also took a long time for the inquiry itself to be set up. And I'd be concerned if the civil servants who are involved in organising and running the inquiry are predicting such a lengthy inquiry."

He said officials may have decided to err on the side of caution, but said it is important to remember that a lot of the work has already been done.

Referring to recent abuse inquiries and reviews, Mr Danczuk said the job of this inquiry is to "bring all that together".

He said: "It should build upon what's already gone before, rather than starting afresh."

The MP said he thought survivors of abuse would be "disappointed" at the time frame suggested.

"I can't see why it should take so long," he added.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are determined that no stone is left unturned in this critical inquiry into the failings of state and non-state institutions.

"The Inquiry is set up with statutory powers under the 2005 Inquiries Act to determine whether state and non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse within England and Wales.

"It is not appropriate to estimate the duration of the inquiry. Justice Goddard will want to balance the need to achieve a successful outcome with the need to work at an effective pace."

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