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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Two women who survived abuse as children to advise inquiry on Welsh victims

Written by Johanna Carr

Two women have promised to champion the cause of Welsh victims after being appointed to advise the public inquiry into child sexual abuse.

May Baxter-Thornton (left) from Newport and Emma Lewis (right) from Swansea, who have both experienced child sexual abuse, will sit on the victims and survivors panel of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

Their role will include advising the inquiry on how best to reach and listen to victims and survivors in Wales.

Inquiry chair, Professor Alexis Jay OBE said: "May and Emma have demonstrated a proven commitment to reaching and supporting victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in Wales.

"The Welsh perspective May and Emma offer will provide a vital contribution to the work of the victims and survivors consultative panel."

Ms Baxter-Thornton, who was sexually abused as a child in the late 70s and early 80s, has worked with victims and survivors of both domestic and sexual abuse for 16 years.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: "When the inquiry makes its recommendations, it is essential that the voices of Welsh victims and survivors are heard.

"I promise to be a voice for them, making sure the inquiry is able to reflect upon and consider their real, lived experiences."

Ms Lewis, who was taken into care aged 10 and first disclosed she had been sexually abused aged 12, works supporting young people to make a smooth transition from care.

She said it was a "privilege" to be asked to champion the interests of Welsh victims and survivors to the inquiry and that she wanted to use her role to ensure children in Wales are better protected in the future.

The inquiry first opened in Wales in November 2016, and since then has met with victims and survivors, and experts in the field of child sexual abuse in locations including Swansea, Newport, Cardiff and Caernarfon.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Colin Whyman / PA Wire.