Child abuse inquiry head spent 44 days working abroad in a year


Dame Lowell Goddard, the head of Britain's inquiry into child abuse, has spent more than 70 days working abroad or on holiday in her first year in the role.

This was made up 44 working days abroad and 30 days of annual leave, according to The Times.

Dame Lowell, 67, a New Zealand high court judge, was appointed to lead the inquiry following the resignation of two previous chairwomen.

It was set up in 2014 amid claims of an establishment cover-up following allegations that a paedophile ring operated in Westminster in the 1980s.

An inquiry spokesman told The Times: "The chair spent 44 working days in New Zealand and Australia on inquiry business in the first financial year of the inquiry. In addition she is entitled to 30 days' annual leave.

"We do not comment on where people working for the inquiry spend their annual leave. The chair is always on call and in direct contact with the inquiry team."

The inquiry has been beset by delays and controversies since it was first announced by the then home secretary Theresa May.

Baroness Butler-Sloss, stood down in July 2014 amid questions over the role played by her late brother, Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.

Her replacement Dame Fiona Woolf resigned following a barrage of criticism over her "establishment links", most notably in relation to former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died in 2015.

Mrs May officially reconstituted the probe under Justice Goddard in March 2015 and placed it on a statutory footing, meaning it has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

The inquiry's terms of reference say that its purpose includes considering "the extent to which state and non-state institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation". It covers England and Wales.