The chair of the UK's independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse has resigned with immediate effect.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she accepted the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard with regret.

The New Zealand high court judge was the third chairwoman to have been appointed to head the investigation into claims made against public and private institutions which was set up just over a year ago.

The two previous chairwomen left over links to the British establishment, while Dame Lowell has come under media scrutiny for the length of time she was on leave or out of the country.

She was appointed in 2015 and has spent more than 70 days working abroad on holiday during her time in charge.

Campaign groups and politicians have called for a replacement to be found "urgently".

Dame Lowell did not give full reasons for leaving but said that accepting the job had been "an incredibly difficult step to take, as it meant relinquishing my career in New Zealand and leaving behind my beloved family".

The inquiry has been beset by setbacks since it was set up in 2014 amid claims of an establishment cover-up following allegations that a paedophile ring operated in Westminster in the 1980s.

Ms Rudd said the inquiry would "continue without delay" and a new chairman would be found.

Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down in July 2014 amid questions over the role played by her late brother, Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.

Her replacement Dame Fiona Woolf resigned following a barrage of criticism over her "establishment links", most notably in relation to former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died in 2015.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is to carry out 13 separate investigations.

1: Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster.

This will be an "overarching inquiry" into allegations of abuse and exploitation involving "people of public prominence associated with Westminster".

2: The Roman Catholic Church.

This will look into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from abuse within the church in England and Wales.

The Catholic church in England and Wales said it has set up a council to assist the inquiry, adding it is "committed to the safeguarding of all children and vulnerable adults".

3: The Anglican Church.

This investigation will look at the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from abuse within the Anglican Church.

4: The internet.

The inquiry will look into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation "facilitated" by the internet.

This will include investigations of the policies of internet firms.

5: Residential schools.

This will investigate abuse and exploitation of children in residential schools in both the state and independent sector.

6: Nottinghamshire councils.

This will look into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire councils following allegations of widespread sexual abuse and exploitation.

7: Lambeth Council.

This will examine the extent of any institutional failures to protect children after allegations of abuse in children's homes run by the London authority.

8: Lord Janner.

This will look into allegations of child sex abuse against Lord Greville Janner. Claims against the late politician were originally expected to be aired during inquiry proceedings starting in September, but Dame Lowell adjourned the hearing until March. The peer, who died aged 87 in December, is alleged to have abused children over a period spanning more than 30 years and dating back to the 1950s, with offending allegedly taking place at children's homes and hotels.

His family said he was "an honourable man, entirely innocent and never convicted of any crime".

9: Protection of children outside the UK.

This will scrutinise "grave allegations" that have emerged regarding abuse by individuals working for British institutions and organisations abroad. It will examine bodies which recruit people to work abroad, including the Armed Forces, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council and private companies and charitable organisations.

10: Sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions.

This will examine the scale of abuse within the secure estate for children and young people. The inquiry has identified Medomsley Youth Detention Centre, County Durham, as the first case study.

11: Child sexual exploitation by organised networks.

This will focus on institutional responses to systematic grooming and sexual abuse of children by groups of offenders as seen in cities including Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford.

Its work will include examining whether the regulation of the night-time economy and taxi licensing is effective in protecting children from abuse.

12: Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale.

An inquiry into allegations of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children residing at or attending Cambridge House Boys' Hostel, Knowl View School, and other institutions where their placement was arranged or provided by Rochdale Borough Council.

13: Accountability and reparations for victims and survivors of abuse.

This arm of the inquiry will focus on the support services and legal remedies available to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

It was included in response to multiple reports of inadequate support services and a civil justice system that may not deliver genuine reparation.