World

Opening public inquiry, judge says scale of child sexual abuse has stunned Britain

This is  an undated handout file photo issued by Britain's Home Office via PA  of Justice Lowell Goddard.  Goddard said Britain has been stunned by revelations about child sexual abuse, and the true scale of the crime may be worse than official estimates that one in 20 children has been a victim. Justice Lowell Goddard opened a public inquiry into decades of abuse on Thursday July 9, 2015, vowing that "no one, no matter how apparently powerful, will be allowed to obstruct our inquiries."  (Home Office/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT  NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

This is an undated handout file photo issued by Britain's Home Office via PA of Justice Lowell Goddard. Goddard said Britain has been stunned by revelations about child sexual abuse, and the true scale of the crime may be worse than official estimates that one in 20 children has been a victim. Justice Lowell Goddard opened a public inquiry into decades of abuse on Thursday July 9, 2015, vowing that "no one, no matter how apparently powerful, will be allowed to obstruct our inquiries." (Home Office/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE  (The Associated Press)

A judge says Britain has been stunned by revelations about child sexual abuse, and the true scale of the crime may be worse than official estimates that one in 20 children has been a victim.

Justice Lowell Goddard opened a public inquiry into decades of abuse on Thursday, vowing that "no one, no matter how apparently powerful, will be allowed to obstruct our inquiries."

In the past few years revelations of abuse have implicated everyone from taxi drivers to entertainers, clergy and senior politicians. There have been claims that police failed to investigate allegations of abuse for decades.

Goddard, a New Zealand judge, was appointed earlier this year to head an inquiry into how public agencies — including government bodies, police, hospitals, churches and the BBC — handled child-abuse allegations.