May launches fresh inquiries into child abuse

Kate McCann
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HOME secretary Theresa May has announced a wide-ranging inquiry into historic child sex-abuse scandals and the way they were handled by UK institutions.

The inquiry will be headed up by an independent panel of child protection experts and will not report before the general election next year, May told the House of Commons yesterday. It will have the power to investigate public bodies such as the BBC, as well as non-state institutions, but it will not have the power to call witnesses, May added.

“I want to make clear that – if the inquiry panel chairman deems it necessary – the government is prepared to convert it into a full public inquiry,” May told MPs, addressing concerns that the inquiry should be led by a judge.

She also announced that the head of the children’s charity NSPCC, Peter Wanless, will lead a review of how the Home Office handled allegations of abuse in the 1980s. Wanless will also look into claims that the Home Office funded the Paedophile Information Exchange.