An independent child sex abuse inquiry taking place across England and Wales will investigate ‘historic failings’ by Lambeth Council.
Councils across the country accused of poor child care will be investigated alongside the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and politicians.
The inquiry, chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard, is due to take five years and will be of ‘unprecedented’ size in the UK.
“We plan to investigate failings to protect children in the care or supervision of Lambeth Council,” she said.
“We will also conduct a wide-ranging investigation into sexual abuse in residential schools.
“We will also conduct an overarching investigation into allegations of child sex abuse by certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster.”
She explained how determined those involved in the investigation were to ‘give a voice to the victims and survivors’.
The 12 investigations will include the exploitation of children and alleged sexual abuse by members of the church.
It will also look into allegations of a child sex abuse ring operating in Westminster.
The inquiry will investigate the historic failings at children’s homes run by Lambeth in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
“I know how important it is for the victims of these offences that the suffering they experienced is re-examined,” said Lambeth Council Leader Lib Peck.
“I have apologised on behalf of the council for the historic failings that let down so many young people.”
Lambeth Council previously investigated the crimes at the children’s homes prior to their closure in 1983.
Internal and independent inquiries resulted in a number of criminal convictions.
The inquiry comes as the government aims to improve its record on child abuse prevention.
According to figures published by the Children’s Commissioner earlier this week, up to 450,000 children in the UK have suffered sexual abuse in the last two years.
The shocking report found that 75% of victims were girls, and that two-thirds of child sexual abuse took place within the family environment.
It also found that most victims won’t speak about their abuse until adolescence or later.
The official number of reported cases sits at 50,000 from April 2012 to March 2014.
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