QC appointed to chair Telford Child Sexual Exploitation inquiry
A QC has been appointed as the chair of Telford's Child Sexual Exploitation inquiry.
Tom Crowther QC has been selected at the chair of the inquiry, after a recruitment process which has been run by Eversheds Sutherland, the body commissioning the inquiry for Telford & Wrekin Council.
Mr Crowther QC said: “I’m very pleased to be asked to chair this inquiry. Throughout my career in criminal law I’ve seen attitudes changing to child sexual exploitation but there is still a great deal to be done, and the most important part of that process is hearing from survivors.
"That will be at the core of what we do as we investigate, recognise mistakes and learn from them, to ensure that in future children’s voices will always be listened to.”
The appointment is a significant development in the inquiry, although in a statement the commissioning body said more work is needed before it can start.
It said: "The commissioning body and the chair will now work together to further consult on and finalise the inquiry’s terms of reference so that the inquiry can begin its work."
There has been considerable criticism over the length of time it is taking for the inquiry to begin, with Telford's MP Lucy Allan, repeatedly calling for more urgency to ensure legitimate scrutiny and justice for the victims.
The appointment of Mr Crowther QC has been welcomed by Telford & Wrekin Council, with Councillor Lee Carter, the authority’s cabinet lead on the issue, saying he looks forward to work starting as soon as possible.
He said: “We welcome the appointment of Mr Crowther who has been selected after a thorough and robust recruitment process carried out by the inquiry’s independent commissioning body.
“Victims and survivors’ representatives have been involved in this appointment process and I am sure that everyone welcomes this major step for the inquiry. This big step is the realisation of their work, effort and diligence and theirs only.
"The independent commissioning body and survivors committee should be applauded for completing this stage in such a thorough and considered manner.
“Everyone at the Council looks forward to Mr Crowther starting their work as soon as possible."
Council leader Shaun Davies added: “I and my cabinet colleagues welcome the appointment of the independent inquiry chair and offer our full support to the inquiry.”
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