Submissions of evidence to the Government’s independence inquiry into child abuse have been accidentally permanently deleted, it has emerged.
The inquiry said that a web address change on 14 September meant submissions through an online form between that date and 2 October were “instantly and permanently deleted” from its systems.
The error applies to the part of the inquiry’s website that had asked alleged victims to share their experiences with investigating officials.
The inquiry apologised for the incident and called for people who had made submissions to send them again.
“Due to a change in our website address to http://www.iicsa.org.uk on 14 September, any information submitted to the Inquiry between 14 September and 2 October through the online form on the Share your experience page of our website, was instantly and permanently deleted before it reached our engagement team,” a statement of the inquiry’s website said.
“We are very sorry for any inconvenience or distress this will cause and would like to reassure you that no information was put at risk of disclosure or unauthorised access.
“Due to the security measures on our website, your information cannot be found or viewed by anyone else as it was immediately and permanently destroyed.
“We would like to apologise again to anyone who submitted details to the Inquiry during this time and to ask you to please resubmit your information through the online form.
“Alternatively you can call the Inquiry helpline on 0800 917 1000 to submit your information over the phone, or email our team at contactiicsa.org.uk.”
The inquiry, chaired by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard, was set up by Theresa May in July 2014.
It was beset by delays and the resignation of two of its previous chairs.
It will examine how Britain’s institutions handled their duty of care when allegations of child sexual abuse were made to them.
The inquiry is expected to be the biggest ever conducted in Britain, and is scheduled to last five years.
Additional reporting by PA
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