The government has established an independent inquiry into the way public institutions including the NHS handled child sex abuse allegations.
The inquiry was announced by home secretary Theresa May in response to concern that agencies including the police, health and social services failed in their duty to safeguard children.
It follows high profile cases including that of Jimmy Savile who preyed on victims at 28 NHS hospitals over a 50-year period.
“In recent years we have seen appalling cases of organised and persistent child sex abuse that have exposed serious failings by public bodies and important institutions,” said Ms May in a statement to the Commons.
“That is why the government has established an independent panel of experts to consider whether these organisations have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.”
The panel will include experts in the law and child protection and is to be chaired by retired senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss.
Ms May said the panel was unlikely to report back before the next general election but would update parliament on progress before May next year.
She said the government would consider converting the probe into a full public inquiry if necessary.