HC Deb 21 July 1987 vol 120 cc171-2W
Mrs. Gillian Shephard

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he can now give further details about the judicial inquiry into child abuse in Cleveland.

Mr. Newton

As I announced last week Mrs. Justice Butler-Sloss has agreed to chair this inquiry. Her assessors will be Mr. John Chant, director of social services for Somerset county council, Professor David Hull, professor of child health, the medical school, Nottingham university and Mr. Leonard Soper, recently retired as chief constable of Gloucestershire.

The terms of reference will be:— To examine the arrangements for dealing with suspected cases of child abuse in Cleveland since 1 January 1987, including in particular cases of child sexual abuse, and to make recommendations.

The purpose of the inquiry will be to establish what has taken place in Cleveland with respect to reported cases of suspected child abuse, and to establish what, if anything, has gone wrong in the arrangements for detecting and handling such cases. The inquiry is not intended to judge whether abuse has taken place in any particular instance. Where such cases are being heard by the courts it is for the courts to decide such issues. The preliminary hearing will take place on 4 August.