Goddard Inquiry Biased Against Survivors? Say it aint so, Lo.

The first part of this post, Introduction to the Inquiry, is intended to give some background to the Inquiry for those not familiar with it. Some key terms are also defined. The second part Inquiry Bias against Survivors shows how the inquiry is institutionally biased against survivors and their representatives.

1. Introduction to the Inquiry

The Inquiry is divided into three Core Projects [6] :

  • the Research Project
  • the Truth Project
  • the Public Hearings Project

The Research Project -Under the guidance of Professor Jenny Pearce OBE and an Academic Advisory Board. The Research Project involves a comprehensive literature review to bring together, for the first time, analysis of all the published work addressing institutional failures in child protection.

The Truth Project -The Truth Project will allow victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences with the Inquiry.

The Public Hearings Project -The Public Hearings Project resemble a conventional public inquiry, where witnesses give evidence on oath and are subject to cross examination. The Inquiry will select case studies from a range of institutions that appear to illustrate a pattern of institutional failings. Each hearing will last for around six weeks.

In order to manage the work of the three Core Projects effectively, the Inquiry has divided the institutional sectors under investigation into five broad workstreams. Each workstream is led by a member of the Inquiry Panel, or the Inquiry Chair. The workstreams are [6]:

  • Allegations of abuse by people of prominence in public life – led by the Chair, Hon. Lowell Goddard DNZM (hereafter referred to as Goddard)
  • Education and religion – led by Panel member, Prof. Malcolm Evans OBE
  • Criminal Justice and law enforcement – led by Panel member, Drusilla Sharpling CBE
  • Local authorities and voluntary organisations – led by Panel member, Prof. Alexis Jay OBE
  • National and private service organisations – led by Panel member, Ivor Frank

The Current Investigations are

  • Accountability and Reparations
  • Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale
  • Children in Custodial Institutions
  • Children outside the UK
  • Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks
  • Lambeth Council
  • Lord Greville Janner
  • Nottinghamshire Councils
  • Residential Schools
  • The Anglican Church
  • The Internet
  • The Roman Catholic Church
  • Westminster

Some investigations have had their preliminary hearings, at which amongst other things the core participants are decided.

A core participant [2] [3] is an individual, organisation or institution that has a specific interest in the work of the Inquiry, and has a formal role as defined by legislation. Core participants have special rights in the Inquiry process. These include receiving disclosure of documentation, being represented and making legal submissions, suggesting questions and receiving advance notice of the Inquiry’s report. It is not necessary to be a core participant in order to provide evidence to the Inquiry. A witness does not have any of the core participant privileges – they give evidence and can be cross examined.

Those designated as core participants will:
a. be provided with electronic disclosure of evidence relevant to the particular
subject matter of the Inquiry in respect of which they are so designated,
subject to any restrictions made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005;
b. have the right to make opening and closing statements at any hearing;
c. have the right to suggest lines of questioning to be pursued by Counsel;
d. have the right to apply to the Inquiry Panel to ask questions of witnesses
during a hearing.

4. All applications received by the Inquiry for core participant status will be determined
by the Chair. In reaching decisions on these applications the Chair will have regard to
the matters set out in Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006.
5. Rule 5(2) states that when determining any applications the Chair must, in particular,
consider whether:
a. the person played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation
to the matters to which the inquiry relates;
b. the person has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to
which the inquiry relates; or
c. the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry
proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report. [4] ?

The final decision on who is a core participant is up to Goddard but the rules framework gives enough leeway for lawyers to argue and “earn” their keep. There is no guarantee of a person who fulfills all the rules being a core participant. Also people who do not fit the criteria can still be chosen by Goddard.

2. Inquiry Bias against Survivors

i. Survivor Support

It is unclear to me from IICSA website [46] what healing and support survivors will receive from the Inquiry in terms of free professional counselling or other help needed to untangle and mend the effects that child sexual abuse has had on victims and survivors.

An inquiry into the child sexual abuse should be absolutely clear what support is offered, to all contributors. Time and again survivors contribute to the authorities, to their own personal detriment, and receive no help and support. They have to retrieve and release happenings and feelings  and emotions often from long ago, locked away and which when released simply cannot be pushed back and no longer ignored. This can have devastating effects on their current lives.

What is being done to help heal survivors who help the inquiry?

ii. Survivor Representation at the Inquiry

In March, at the Janner Hearing of the Goddard Inquiry, the Home Office, the Department for Education, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, “Leicestershire Police” or more correctly the Leicestershire Police Chief Constable, Leicestershire County Council, Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party were granted “core participant” status. Seventeen abused individuals were also granted this status. The number abused by Janner is thought to be considerably higher by more than a factor of 10.

Government and other institutions are all paid for from public funds (except the Labour Party). These are often the very institutions that failed to protect children and are also likely to feature across many of the investigations and modules.

This means that these institutions, some of them corporations and some whose exact legal entity is shrouded in mystery, are in possession of a very broad spectrum of information about the child abuse that the inquiry is investigating, and they have broad inside knowledge of the mechanisms and processes of how the csa inquiry works as well as the individuals within it. They are in a position to fight strategic battles with full knowledge across the spectrum of the investigations and modules of the Inquiry. Knowledge is power, and the phalanx of internal and external, publically funded lawyers that these institutions pay to do their bidding, will make full use of that advantage.

This contrasts with victims and survivors, the vast majority of whom will feature in only one investigation or module, with only limited and compartmentalised knowledge of that investigation or module and limited access to lawyers.

The lawyers that are representing survivors may also be less likely than their colleagues representing institutions to have knowledge of abuse, process and personnel across the spectrum of the inquiry.

Thus the odds as usual very much favour the very institutions that allowed the abuse to happen.

Imbalance in the justice system has also been recognised in the 27 year battle that Hillsborough victims have had so far to achieve justice, with as yet no prosecutions having been brought against the guilty. Andy Burnham said “Hillsborough must mark a moment of real change – when parliament resolves to rebalance the police and criminal justice system and put more power in the hands of ordinary people to get justice. This was reported in an article entitled Hillsborough verdict sparks call to rebalance police and criminal justice system [5] and more recently Inquest funding: ‘Hillsborough Law’ needed, Andy Burnham says  [33].  Of course it is the whole Crown Justice system that needs to put more power in the hands of ordinary people, but I suspect as as matter of achievable politics Burnham is concentrating on the also extremely flawed Inquest system.

What is the inquiry doing to redress this undoubted imbalance and to level the playing field? It would appear nothing.

One idea would be to allow survivor representative groups core participant status across several modules and investigations. This would be welcome, but would only help make the imbalance better, it still would not achieve balance.

However the signs for progress on balance are not good.

Nigel O’Mara has campaigned against child sexual abuse for many years, and set up Survivors UK [K] in 1986 and now also runs East Midlands Survivors [32], to help male survivors of abuse. He is widely respected far beyond survivors and his local area.

Nigel O’Mara’s application for core participant status was turned down in the Janner investigation after the hearing on 9th March. This was despite the important information he has to give the inquiry about letters he wrote to the Home Office about Janner (and Cyril Smiths) abuse on other survivors.

The reasons given were that although Nigel may have evidence in support of a finding of institutional failure, this is not sufficient to suggest that Mr O’Mara played .. a significant role in relation to which this investigation relates, or ..may have a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters under consideration.”

On 5 January 2016 the Inquiry invited anyone who wished to be designated as a core participant in the Children in the Care of Lambeth Council investigation to make an
application to the Solicitor to the Inquiry by 5 February 2016 [20]

Brian Pead was one of the earliest whistleblowers about child abuse, which was in Lambeth. It appears that the powers that be were not happy with his book exposing what happened at Hillsborough nor his whistleblowing on child abuse and he has suffered merciless harrassment, false charges and imprisonment. His banned book, Hillsborough to Lambeth, is available on a site here [23] and Brian Pead’s website is [22] with details of his latest book and travails. His treatment at odds with official treatment for whistleblowers [24]

Brian attended the hearing at the Royal Court of Justice on 24th March in which Goddard said she would still take Core Participant Status applications. He applied in early April and is yet to hear whether his application has been successful. It would bode badly for the truth and an inquiry interested in the truth and survivors if he was not made a core participant.

The current Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police (and his chosen representative Craig Sutherland) was given core participation [12]  The reason given was that the “Chief Constable has within his control a significant amount of material which is relevant to Leicestershire Police’s recent investigation into allegations relating to Lord Janner, as well as historic investigations dating back to 2007 and 2002 and which are likely to be important to the scope of this investigation”.

Goddard was “satisfied that Leicestershire Police have played a significant role in relation to matters which are the subject of this investigation and also have a significant interest in the matters regarding Lord Janner which the Inquiry will consider. It is also possible that Leicestershire Police will be the subject of explicit or significant criticism in the course of this Inquiry.”

As far as I am aware the Chief Constable is a corporation sole [14], set up in 2011 [13].  Is the Chief Constable just representing himself and/or the Office of Chief Constable.  Is he representing the wider interests of Leicestershire Police?

Yes he has documents within his control, but is that a reason to make him a core participant. It sounds a bit like the inquiry is unsure that the documents would be handed over if he was not made a core participant.

Quite possibly Leicestershire Police will be criticised in the Inquiry and yes, they have played a significant role in matter re. Lord Janner. Is the chief constable, sole corporation, the correct person to represent Leicestershire police and with no conflict of interest? Leicestershire Police (what kind of legal entity are they?) would seem to have have a far greater interest and responsibility for Janners non arrest and prosecution during the 1980s and 1990s than a Corporation Sole set up in 2011.

Perhaps someone will enlighten me as to this situation.

iii. Survivor Early Preparation Work for Inquiry

Another area in the Goddard Inquiry where the inequality between survivors and institutions that failed in their duty of care is manifest, is the early preparation work needed for representation and investigations. The institutions concerned will have no difficulty in using public money to fund their legal representation from a time of their choosing.

Even those survivors almost certain to achieve core participant status eg Forde Park survivors which have been chosen as a case study for the first investigation “Accountability and Reparations” cannot prepare in certainty or knowing they will be funded.  However case plans and further legal representations need to be made, and preparations need to be made to give evidence, but applications for core participant status have only recently opened.

As an example of why early preparation and representation is important is that the inquiry, almost unbelievably, at first thought that this “Accountability and Reparations” investigation could be achieved without any survivor participation. If it was not for survivors lawyers early representations to the inquiry to persuade them that a survivor input was needed then the inquiry would not have made the statement that Forde Park survivors would likely be designated as core participants. Despite this no funding award has been made to them for these early vital preparations.

The institutions that allowed the abuse to happen will be attempting to limit that damage from the earliest possible stage and will be able to use public money (either via their institution or via the inquiry).

The experience of survivors, in the child sexual abuse inquiry, will be in stark contrast. Even in the very inquiry finally instituted to find out what happened with Instituional Child Sexual Abuse, they will continue to be severely disadvantaged. The fact that that is nothing new to survivors, is not a reason for it to continue, especially in this long overdue, but limited inquiry into child sexual abuse.

iv. Information held by Authorities of Interest to the Inquiry

Survivors have massive difficulties in most cases of getting their records and documentation from authorities who are reluctant to divulge anything about their past failures. Contrast this with the authorities who failed the children, being in charge of choosing what information is allowed to go to the Inquiry, and in the meantime using the Inquiry as an excuse / exemption to refuse FOI requests.

The letter from Goddard to Local Authorities and others, stated “I would be grateful if you could ensure a thorough search of all your paper files, all digital records, and all other information – however held – to ensure that everything of potential relevance to the Inquiry is retained” [See Appendix A Goddard Letter to Local Authorities]

“Your organisation is asked to retain any and all documents; correspondence; notes;
emails and all other information – however held – which contain or may contain
content pertaining directly or indirectly to the sexual abuse of children or to child
protection and care.”

There appears to be a conflict of interest between institutions who are searching and preparing relevant information that they hold that is of potential relevance for the inquiry, and simultaneously preparing to defend themselves against accusations of not having properly fulfilled their duty of care for children abused in their “care. It might not  be in the interests of a corporation that an incriminating document in their possession reaches the inquiry, and they might notchoose to worry if Justice Goddard was only “grateful” if they could arrange a search.

The defending corporations are fully aware of all data in their possession yet a survivor trying to make a case is not.

It is essential for a genuine and serious child sexual abuse Inquiry to keep on top of the preparation of data for the Inquiry by authorities, and get lists of the data that they hold in a database as soon as possible, to minimise the risk that any goes “missing”, and to find out which have already gone missing.

Furthermore the inquiry should be far more transparent than they have been so far, about how far forward this process is. Have the documents already been transferred to the inquiry for cataloguing? Are they allowing the institutions to catalogue their own data,  which may be to the institutions detriment. The only deterrent is a vague threat that to destroy it is a criminal offence, likely to be offset by plausible deniability that the office junior was incompetent,  or a corporate fine paid at further taxpayer expense.

The policy to publish as many documents as possible was one of the great successes of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. 450,000 pages of material were reviewed, of which 335,000 pages released on this website [25]

The Goddard Inquiry should make clear as soon as possible the policy and schedule for the Inquiry releasing data. The inquiry should be used as an opportunity to release data that many departments and authorities, by accident or design, have not digitally released.

It is inexcusable for instance that the likes of the Warner Report is not digitally available and its release being refused by authorities. That kind of release could be happening immediately, to the benefit of child protection services countrywide. The Inquiry should not fall the same way as Justice Macur, who I have been informed, said that documents would be made public but which still have not seen the light of public gaze.

v. Survivors Forum and Truth Project

It is disappointing that so little news about the Survivors Forum or the Truth Project is given out so far by the inquiry. What is going on?

“@IICSA_media May25 Sorry for the delay of the Victims and Survivors Forum we’re working on it, and will update soon”

The lack of information and progress on the survivor oriented elements of the inquiry is not acceptable.

From June the inquiry have been asking for participants in the Truth Project on twitter –

“We have begun inviting victims and survivors to share their experience with us through the Truth Project” and direct people to the IICSA Share your Experience webpage [26]

There has also been an as yet unfinished series of 5 tweets at the beginning of Jun, over a few days –

“R u a victim/survivor of child sexual abuse? Were you sexually abused as a child whilst in an institution? Were you FAILED (let down) by an institution e.g. the Police, Social Services, your School? then you can share your experience with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Be heard and help change the way child abuse is dealt with going forward.”

Note the condescending tone and explanation of what “FAILED” meant!

The Inquiry has been clearly incompetent in the use of social media ever since the inquiry was set up. I hope they get their act together soon, people might start thinking it is deliberate.

The terms and references for the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) appear to have just gone up (17 Jun) pdf download [45]

A twitter account has recently appeared @iicsa_vscp and at least the Survivors Panel are starting to tweet.

It is yet to be proven how effective the VSCP will be at representing survivors viewpoints and how much engagement they have with the Inquiry and how much notice is taken of them. It will also be interesting how the wider survivor community interact with the panel and the survivors on the panel.

The VSCP tweet on 17 Jun “VSCP know there’s a lack of specialist support 4 victims/survivors & often suggest / recommend changes 2 the Inquiry 2 help address this”

What is the VSCP suggesting to the Inquiry and what are the inquiry doing about it? It seems the inquiry is not taking alot of notice.

vi. Lawyers

This Inquiry is heavy with lawyers, perhaps as a consequence of some people wanting an inquiry with “teeth”, which may also have coincided conveniently with the establishments agenda of bogging down the inquiry. The lawyer led inquiry is having other consequences.

It is often commented that solicitors, barristers and judges do not seem to understand the difficulties that survivors have, nor they they seem to relate to survivors. However they relate all too well with opposing lawyers and judges, perhaps to the detriment  of their clients.

This is to some extent understandable as the lawyers have much in common. I am aware the following is a generalisation, but believe it is reasonable. Lawyers often come from similar relatively privileged backgrounds. They do similar jobs, they received similar qualifications. They are fairly limited in number – 135,000 practising solicitors [11], only 16,ooo barristers, and 1600 self employed QCs [10]. They are quite likely to have met in qualification, training or work.

Barristers will be members of the same Bar Council, are all members of only 4 similar Inns of Court all in the same part of London, and probably similar specialist bar associations. Solicitors are members the Law Society, regulated by the SRA  and similarly have solicitors associations such as the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

Survivors in contrast, through no fault of their own, had a terrible start in life, when their brains are still developing. This faulty wiring at the hands of abusers, can affect victims their whole life and due to their experiences may have limited education, have difficulties communicating, issues with emotions and anger, fallen into drug dependency, fallen foul of the law, distrustful of authority.

In most survivors experience in legal matters, lawyers walk away from court having “earned” more money than a survivor gets in compensation for a childhood of abuse. The obscene lawyers deals concerning the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust, were to the detriment of survivors, and have not been exposed as far as I know, by anyone, including myself, but I touch upon it here [28].

Even as far back as 2005 there were 10 lawyers in Ireland made over €1million from abuse cases:- Michael Hanahoe: €9,167,855, Lavelle Coleman: €8,917,899, Margaret Campbell: €3,457,319, Murphy, English & Co: €3,035,704, Peter McDonnell & Associates: €2,629,952, Madden & Associates: €2,528,383, Hodge, Jones & Allen: €2,297,542, Pearse Mehigan & Co: €2,124,481, Paul W Tracey: €1,368,243, Matthew Gold & Co: €1,120,175 [34].

Does the supposed transparency of the Inquiry go as far as documenting how many lawyers are employed, in what capacities and how much money is being spent on them? I wonder if anyone can manage to get figures for this IICSA inquiry and whether the inquiry will investigate the lawyer/survivor imbalance in reparations, in the reparations investigation?

(On transparency of the Inquiry, at one stage I was refused information about how many people were in the media and information hub of the inquiry by the Information Manager. The reason being because the information would be out of date as the number was changing! However that is part of another more serious story which may be told in the future)

Lawyers on the Inquiry should perhaps donate at the very least 10% of their earnings from work on the Inquiry to survivors groups.

Hopefully the days are not to far away when at least the payment for knowledge part of lawyers job is taken away from lawyers by robolawyers or apps [4]

The legalistic inquiry chosen in response to those who used inadequate dental analogy soundbites, or at least those who were encouraged to demand this (often by lawyers!), has given advantages to the institutions and their representatives. They can easily employ people to understand the laws, procedures, jargon and flummery that goes with it, whilst the survivors and public are left struggling.

From what I have seen and experienced so far of the whole ethos of the Inquiry and its attitude to survivors, the Inquiry just do not get it. It appears that IICSA Inquiry lawyers and personnel need to be educated in the survivor viewpoint.

The lawyer dominated inquiry appear from their attitude, outlook and decisions so far, that they have little or no understanding of the different perspective and difficulties that being a victim of sexual abuse when a child gives you, and what that might mean in terms of making this a successful process that survivors feel has got to the truth.

I believe it is part of the basic work inquiry to understand the viewpoint of the people affected by child sexual abuse. It is clear that on the whole, that many lawyers appear to  enjoy detail, adversarial points and procedures and have little empathy, little compassion, little understanding of the survivor standpoint.

The imbalance agaisnt the public, apparent in the Inquest system, and the justice system for child sexual abuse is also apparent in the Family Courts, in Special Educational Needs system, recently highlighted by an arrogant lawyer gloating over his “wins” over parents of vulnerable children. Thankfully he has received his come uppance and lost several conrtacts with local authorities Councils cancel special educational needs contracts with law firm over ‘gloating’ tweets [40]

The image of lawyers is not helped by this scenario and misuse of the law Married lawyer and female QC who had sex outside waterloo station both accept cautions for outraging public decency – but she stays anonymous after first claiming it was sexual assault [41]

Nor of course are lawyers helped by the involvement of many lawyers in child sexual abuse scandals, for which I have chosen an example away from England [49]

The bias against the public and for authorities is widespread and lawyers are often inappropriate people to even see this. To overcome the handicap of a lawyer dominated csa inquiry, advice independent of lawyers needs to be sought, and integrated throughout the inquiry.

vii. Crown Inquiry

Whilst we hope that the Goddard child sexual abuse Inquiry will get to the truth, it must be remembered that it is a creation of the Crown. Those who work for the Inquiry are working for the Crown. Many of the institutions who failed children from local authorities to Police work for the Crown [27] Lawyers institutions are highly tied in with the Crown.

IICSA stands for the “Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. However the description “independent” is of course relative term not an absolute one. What are they independent from? The Secretariat is from the Home Office, the Government pay the Inquiry’s considerable salaries and expenses, (not yet clear to me from which department), the Crown runs through everything, the Security Services (who it is unclear who they work for or are accountable to, and many suspect run child abuse networks for blackmail purposes) are involved in vetting the jobs in the Inquiry.

viii. Accountability and Reparations Investigation

The Inquiry intended this investigation to be an academic study of case studies, such as Forde Park and North Wales schools, to understand how survivors

  • have historically achieved accountability and reparations
  • experience was of how police reacted to complaints
  • were dealt with by courts,
  • were suppored from other agencies
  • experienced the response of local authorities
  • experienced the response of insurance industry

The purpose was to provide guidelines for the future and the inquiry was apparently not interested in the details of allegations of abuse, focussing on what happened later in terms of accountability and reparations.

Lawyers representing some survivors argued for survivor participation rather than being passive onlookers. Thematic conclusions could not be reached without understanding in detail the history of abuse suffered by a reperentative sample. The inquiry felt that the Truth Project could provide these accounts. The survivors lawyers disagreed, felt it could be achieved by them in 3 months and legal funding should be given.

Survivors lawyers asked as to the purpose of the accountability and reparations module. Is it to hold person to account for the abuse? Is it going to recommend survivors be provided reparations in term so money, or other reparations? The answer to these questiosn was NO. The title of the module is misleading and should be adjusted. Why can the inquiry not suggest reparations like the Northern Ireland HIA?

It is believed Forde Park Survivors are a case study and “likely” to be chosen as core participants, and that lawyers are making a case for Stanhope Castle Approved School survivors to be made core participant as case studies should be chosen from geographically different areas.

From 3rd June the IICSA twitter account has asked for core participants for the accountability and reparations module. [29]

ix. Cross border issues

Cross border issues need to be sorted. These generally involve abuse carried out in geographical area that the Inquiry has said that it will not cover, but the abuse was done by authorities based in England which the Inquiry does cover. This includes the likes of abuse in Scotland by the English Benedictines order, abuse by the Church of England in the Isle of Man Diocese of Sodor and Mann [30] whose Province is based in York, and abuse in IOM by the Catholic church whose archdiocese is in Liverpool [31]

Another elephant in the inquiry, is the refusal to include abuse at Kincora in Northern Ireland to the Goddard Inquiry. Some victims, notably Richard Kerr and witnesses, notably Colin Wallace, are not going to give evidence at the Northern Ireland Inquiry. They feel that the Northern Ireland HIA has insufficient powers to call to account the people needed to be called to account.  For this permissions, and exemptions from Official Secrets Acts need to be given by powers and people in Westminster Parliament. That is of course assuming that there is any proper realistic control or accountability over so called Security Services and other secretive groups.  Note the T shirt “MI5 involved in child abuse cover up” [35]

I will also point out at this stage that during his investigations in Northern Ireland, ex-Met Police commissioner Lord Stevens arrested 210 paramilitary suspects. He says that 207 of them were agents or informants for the state.  British security forces had thousands of agents and informants working inside Northern Ireland paramilitary groups. The agents caused huge problems in Northern Ireland.  The undercover operatives were recruited by the Army, MI5 and Special Branch and many were involved in criminality and murder [37] [38] [Appendix B]

Until Kincora is included in the Goddard Inquiry, many people will believe that the Goddard inquiry is a blatant cover up by the Crown, the state and the secretive powers behind the blackmailed and compromised politicians.

I repeat 2o7 out of 210 arrested paramilitaries were working for the state. Where does the child sexual abuse on innocent children fit into the thinking of the psychopaths who arrange this scenario?

kincorakerrKincora child abuse survivor Richard Kerr. Picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress  

It would be perverse not to include cases such as these in the Goddard Inquiry.

x. Research Assistants

IICSA want Research Assistants [18]. It is interesting that they are to receive vetting [19] One of the bodies involved in vetting is MI5 who many people suspect of running the child abuse networks for blackmail purposes and covering it up. It is hardly conducive to finding the best researchers, nor finding out the truth!!

Other Issues

IICSA announces two more investigations

Recently IICSA announced that they were inviting applications for core participant status in two investigations [39] The tweets continued “Roman Catholic Church and a case study of Children outside the UK investigations are the two investigations 1/2” “Individuals/organisations wishing to apply for core participant status in relation the investigations are asked to apply before 24 June 2/2”

The investigation of child migrants [42] is of course well overdue [44] and is a welcome step. Hopefully will include reference to the quite often related mind control these victims of state sponsored human trafficking suffered as well [47]

The Inquiry into the Roman Catholic Church needs to sort out cross border issues and carry out joined up thinking and action with other inquiries.

Conclusion on Inquiry Bias

Whilst it is relatively early days for the inquiry, it is worrying that the lawyer heavy model chosen  for this inquiry appears to be not just overlooking survivors interests  but not even understanding them. Survivors every step in the Inquiry is uphill, whilst it is more like a walk in the park for corporations who allowed abusers and abuse.

There is demonstrably bias against survivors and bias for the very institutions that failed the children. The bias is in:-

  • lack of survivor healing and support
  • the representation at the Inquiry
  • the choice of core participants
  • the information available
  • the early preparation and funding
  • the slow set up and lack of apparent notice taken of survivor panel and truth project
  • the lawyer heavy type of inquiry
  • the whole ethos and lack of understanding of survivors and surrounding issues by the inquiry
  • the vetting process
  • crown involvement
  • government involvement in “independent” inquiry
  • accountability and reparations
  • cross border issues
  • research

It is not a question of if it is biased, it is a question of how much it is biased.

You can’t say it aint so Lo, so what you going to do about it?

Despite the bias, HM IICSA is the only boat that is likely to sail in the foreseeable future to even have the stated ambition to attempt to find out whether institutions failed in their duty of care- (NB not to get to the truth of what happened). For this reason I would still at this stage advocate engaging with the Inquiry. This will give them less excuse to ignore overwhelming evidence of child sexual abuse, or to say survivors did not take part and due to this find that failures did not occur. You should keep an independent record of all evidence and documentation given to the inquiry, whether in written or oral format, and also ask for copies of the evidence you give them.

However the most vital step for survivors is to join together into survivors groups. With a local survivors group, this will enable you to be supported best locally. It will also help you to gain the srength in numbers and confidence to take on the abusers and institution responsible. It will also help to get your particular abusive institution or area to be chosen if appropriate as one of the inquiry’s investigations.

If there is no local group then contact the nearest big one and get tips on how to set one up. Perhaps also contact the Voicing CSA website [L] who are fellow survivors who help in setting up meetings for potential groups. This is some of their latest meeting in Leicester.[43]

Apply for as much paperwork as you can from the abusive institutions you were at. This is not under the FOI Act as many think, as this does not cover sensitive information of this sort. It is covered by the Data Protection Act. Some information is given here [48] If anyone has clear step by step guidance of how to apply for foster care and care records, or is willing to help others, please message or comment.

White Flowers have a petition to Goddard, on the issue of the Inquiries discrimination against survivors. End Goddard Child Abuse Inquiry Discrimination Against Survivors [36] or [Appendix C]

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • Other useful sites are One in Four [C]
  • and Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area

Links

[1] 2016 Oct 9 Wikipedia Institutional Racism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism

Institutional racism (also known as institutionalised racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions, as distinct from racism by individuals or informal social groups. It is reflected in disparities regarding criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other things. Whether implicitly or explicitly expressed, institutional racism occurs when a certain group is targeted and discriminated against based upon race. Institutional racism can go unnoticed as it is not always explicit and can be overlooked.

Institutional racism was defined by Sir William Macpherson in the 1999 Lawrence report (UK) as: “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

[2] IICSA Core Participant FAQ https://www.iicsa.org.uk/sites/default/files/core-participant-faq-for-website-dec-2015.pdf

A core participant is an individual, organisation or institution that has a specific interest in the work of the Inquiry, and has a formal role as defined by legislation. Core participants have special rights in the Inquiry process. These include receiving disclosure of documentation, being represented and making legal submissions, suggesting questions and receiving advance notice of the Inquiry’s report. It is not necessary to be a core participant in order to provide evidence to the Inquiry.

[3] IICSA Guidance on Core Participant https://www.iicsa.org.uk/sites/default/files/core-participant-application-protocol.pdf

Those designated as core participants will:
a. be provided with electronic disclosure of evidence relevant to the particular
subject matter of the Inquiry in respect of which they are so designated,
subject to any restrictions made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005;
b. have the right to make opening and closing statements at any hearing;
c. have the right to suggest lines of questioning to be pursued by Counsel;
d. have the right to apply to the Inquiry Panel to ask questions of witnesses
during a hearing.

4. All applications received by the Inquiry for core participant status will be determined
by the Chair. In reaching decisions on these applications the Chair will have regard to
the matters set out in Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006.
5. Rule 5(2) states that when determining any applications the Chair must, in particular,
consider whether:
a. the person played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation
to the matters to which the inquiry relates;
b. the person has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to
which the inquiry relates; or
c. the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry
proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report.
6. While the Chair is bound to consider the factors set out in Rule 5(2), it is open to her
to take into account other relevant matters. The Chair is also not obliged to designate
a person or organisation that meets the criteria set out in Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules
as a core participant. She has a wide discretion that she will exercise fairly,
consistently and with an open mind.

[4] 2016 Feb 19 Digital trends A 19-year-old kid built this free robo-lawyer, and it has already appealed over $3M in parking tickets http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/free-robotic-lawyer-appealed-3-million-parking-tickets/

[5] 2016 May 11 Guardian Hillsborough verdict sparks call to rebalance police and criminal justice system http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/may/11/hillsborough-verdict-sparks-call-to-rebalance-police-and-criminal-justice-system

[6] IICSA Inquiry How we Work re Three Core Projects and The Five Workstreams https://www.iicsa.org.uk/about-us/how-we-work

[7] IICSA Key Documents https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents

[8] IICSA letter to Local Authority CEOs re CSA docs https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents?file=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iicsa.org.uk%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fletter-to-local-authority-ceos.pdf

[9] IICSA page 18 of Key Docs https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents?document_types_tid=All&page=18

[10] Bar Standards Board https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/media-centre/research-and-statistics/statistics/queen’s-counsel-statistics/

[11] SRA http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/how-we-work/reports/data/population_solicitors.page

[12] IICSA Janner Investigation  Notice of Determination for Leics Police https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents?file=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iicsa.org.uk%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fjanner-leicestershire-police-cp-application-notice-of-determination.pdf

[13] Gov.uk Fact Sheet Chief Officers Financial Arrangements https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/201086/Fact_sheet_chief_officers_financial_arrangements.pdf

[14] Wikipedia Corporation Sole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation_sole

[15] IICSA Janner Investigation Leic Police submissions on broadcasting rhttps://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents?file=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iicsa.org.uk%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fjanner-leicestershire-police-submissions-on-broadcasting.pdf

[16]  IICSA Janner Investigation, Leicester Police Core participant https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents?file=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iicsa.org.uk%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fjanner-leicestershire-police-cp-application-notice-of-determination.pdf

[17] 2016 May 11 Counter Information The Collapse of the European Union  https://counterinformation.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/the-collapse-of-the-european-union/

[18] IICSA Research Assistants https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/index.cgi?SID=cGFnZWFjdGlvbj12aWV3dmFjYnlqb2JsaXN0JnBhZ2VjbGFzcz1Kb2JzJnNlYXJjaF9zbGljZV9jdXJyZW50PTEmb3duZXI9NTA3MDAwMCZ1c2Vyc2VhcmNoY29udGV4dD0yMDI3ODQ3NiZqb2JsaXN0X3ZpZXdfdmFjPTE0OTQ3ODgmY3NvdXJjZT1jc3FzZWFyY2gmb3duZXJ0eXBlPWZhaXImcmVxc2lnPTE0NjQ4NTUyOTktZjQ5Yjc2MDBlY2JmNzAyYWRkMzAwMjM5OWNmYWZkNzQ2MGZkZmNlYg==

[19] Gov. uk  Vetting https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/438973/Vetting_Clearance_Guidance.pdf

[20] IICSA Core Participant https://www.iicsa.org.uk/news/applications-core-participant-status

[21] 2016 Jun 3 Belfast Telegraph  Man in police uniform ‘abused boy from Kincora’, panel told http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/man-in-police-uniform-abused-boy-from-kincora-panel-told-34770320.html It is further claimed that the UK security services knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, instead using the information to blackmail and extract intelligence from the influential men – including senior politicians, judges and civil servants who were the perpetrators.

[22] Brian Pead website http://www.LambethChildAbuse.org

[23] Lambeth Child Abuse website From Hillsborough to Lambeth Book http://lambeth-child-abuse.webnode.nl/news/from-hillsborough-to-lambeth/

[24] Justice for Brian Pead Blog the “Official” Government line on whistleblowing v the reality of Brian Pead’s whistleblowing http://justice4brianpead.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/the-official-government-line-on.html

[25] Hillsborough Independent Panel website Disclosure Process  http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/disclosure-process/index.html 450,000 pages of material reviewed, of which 335,000 pages released

[26] IICSA Share your experience https://www.iicsa.org.uk/share-your-experience

[27] Wikipedia The Crown https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crown

[28] Cathy Fox Blog Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust Legal Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/jimmy-savile-charitable-trust-legal-appeal/

[29] IICSA Reparations for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse https://www.iicsa.org.uk/investigations/reparations-for-victims-and-survivors-of-child-sexual-abuse

[30] Wikipedia Diocese of Sodor and Mann https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocese_of_Sodor_and_Man

[31] Wikipedia Roman Catholicism in the Isle of Man https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_the_Isle_of_Man

[32] East Midland Survivors http://www.emsurvivors.org

[33] 2016 Jun 13 BBC  Inquest funding: ‘Hillsborough Law’ needed, Andy Burnham says http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36513825

[34] 2008 Sept 14 Sunday Tribune via Paddy Doyle . 10 lawyers made over €1m from abuse cases http://www.paddydoyle.com/10-lawyers-made-over-e1m-from-abuse-cases/

[35] 2016 Jun 15 Irish News Kincora witness withdraws from HIA probe http://www.irishnews.com/news/2016/06/15/news/kincora-witness-withdraws-from-hia-probe-562476/?param=ds441rif44T

[36] Change.org End Goddard Child Abuse Inquiry Discrimination Against Survivors https://www.change.org/p/end-goddard-child-abuse-inquiry-discrimination-against-survivors

[37] 2011 Dec 21 Belfast Telegraph Half of all top IRA men ‘worked for security services’ http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/half-of-all-top-ira-men-worked-for-security-services-28694353.html

[38] 2015 May 28  BBC UK agents ‘worked with NI paramilitary killers’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32887445

[39] IICSA Applications for core participant status https://www.iicsa.org.uk/news/applications-core-participant-status

[40] 2016 Jun 14 Guardian Councils cancel special educational needs contracts with law firm over ‘gloating’ tweets https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/14/councils-cancel-contracts-with-law-firm-tweets

[41] 2016 Jun 16 Daily Mail Married lawyer and female QC who had sex outside waterloo station both accept cautions for outraging public decency – but she stays anonymous after first claiming it was sexual assault http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3644899/Female-QC-sex-outside-station-gets-remain-anonymous.html

[42] 2016 Jun 13 Guardian Migrants from UK urged to give evidence to child abuse inquiry https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/13/migrants-from-uk-urged-to-give-evidence-to-child-abuse-inquiry?CMP=share_btn_tw

[43] Voicing CSA – Talks in Leicestershire http://voicingcsa.uk/voicing-csa-leicester-educating-the-educators/

[44] 2016 Jan 26 Cathy Fox Blog The Story of Britains Child Migrants https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/empty-cradles-by-margaret-humpreys-the-story-of-britains-child-migrants/

[45] IICSA Victims and Survivors’ Consultative Panel Terms of Reference
https://t.co/g3zI9DO1kB

[46] IICSA Share your experience https://www.iicsa.org.uk/share-your-experience

[47] 2016 Jan 9 Cathy Fox Mind Control and MK Ultra in Canada https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/mind-control-and-mk-ultra-in-canada/

[48] 2014 Mar 18  Guardian Care leavers to get access to their records http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/18/care-leavers-access-records-new-rules

[49] 2014 Mar 31 Cathy Fox Blog The Tragic Magic Circle – Scotlands Shameful Child Sexual Abuse Scandal Continues https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/the-tragic-magic-circle-scotlands-shameful-child-sexual-abuse-scandal-continues/

Appendix A

Goddard letter to Local Authority

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
OFFICIAL
Chief Executive
Local Authority
Thursday 2nd July 2015
Subject: Notice of retention/non‐destruction of documents relating to the
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
As you are aware, on 12 March 2015, the Home Secretary established the
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to consider whether public bodies – and
other non‐state institutions – have taken seriously their duty of care to protect
children from sexual abuse. I write to you now in my position as Chair of the Inquiry
on the issue of information and records held by your organisation, and those
organisations for which you are responsible, or which are affiliated to your
organisation.
The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry (appended) are extremely broad. As such, it
is not yet clear exactly what files, records and documents we will be requesting from
your organisations. This will become clearer as the work of the Inquiry progresses.
In the meantime we must ensure that no line of investigation is curtailed by the
premature destruction of files or records that later become required as evidence.
Accordingly, I have set out in an appendix to this letter a list of categories of
document that should be retained pending further requests from the Inquiry. I
would be grateful if you could ensure a thorough search of all your paper files, all
digital records, and all other information – however held – to ensure that everything
of potential relevance to the Inquiry is retained.
Please circulate this letter and its appendices to all parts of your organisation, to
those bodies for which you are responsible, or which are affiliated to your
organisation. It is of particular importance that your Children’s Services
Department and designated officer, or team of officers, (as described in the
statutory guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children March 2015) receive
and act upon this request.
I thank you for your continued assistance in this matter.
Yours sincerely
Lowell Goddard
Chair, Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
OFFICIAL
Appendix 1: Categories of document for retention
Your organisation is asked to retain any and all documents; correspondence; notes;
emails and all other information – however held – which contain or may contain
content pertaining directly or indirectly to the sexual abuse of children or to child
protection and care. For the purposes of this appendix, the word “children” relates
to any person under the age of 18.
Such information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
a. Any material, including reports; reviews; briefings; minutes; notes and
correspondence in relation to allegations (substantiated or not) of
individuals, organisations, institutions, public bodies or otherwise who may
have been involved in, or have knowledge of, child sexual abuse, or child
sexual exploitation;
b. Any material, including reports; reviews; briefings; minutes; notes and
correspondence in relation to allegations (substantiated or not) of individuals
having engaged in sexual activity with, or having a sexual interest in, children;
c. Any material, including reports; reviews; briefings; minutes; notes and
correspondence in relation to institutional failures to protect children from
sexual abuse or other exploitation;
d. Any material relevant to statutory responsibilities for the care of children in
public or private care;
e. Any material relevant to the development of policy on child protection;
f. Any material relevant to the development of legislation on child protection;
g. Any material relating to the determination of the award of Honours to
persons who are now demonstrated to have had a sexual interest in children
or are suspected of having had such an interest.
It is not possible to produce a definitive list under (g). Accordingly we invite you to
ensure that no documentation relating to the award of Honours to any person is
destroyed pending the outcome of the Independent Inquiry.
INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
OFFICIAL
Appendix 2: Terms of reference
Terms of Reference
Purpose
1. To consider the extent to which State and non‐State institutions have failed in
their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation; to
consider the extent to which those failings have since been addressed; to
identify further action needed to address any failings identified; to consider the
steps which it is necessary for State and non‐State institutions to take in order
to protect children from such abuse in future; and to publish a report with
recommendations.
2. In doing so to:
a. Consider all the information which is available from the various published
and unpublished reviews, court cases, and investigations which have so far
concluded;
b. Consider the experience of survivors of child sexual abuse; providing
opportunities for them to bear witness to the Inquiry, having regard to the
need to provide appropriate support in doing so;
c. Consider whether State and non‐State institutions failed to identify such
abuse and/or whether there was otherwise an inappropriate institutional
response to allegations of child sexual abuse and/or whether there were
ineffective child protection procedures in place;
d. Advise on any further action needed to address any institutional protection
gaps within current child protection systems on the basis of the findings
and lessons learnt from this inquiry;
e. Disclose, where appropriate and in line with security and data protection
protocols, any documents which were considered as part of the inquiry;
f. Liaise with ongoing inquiries, including those currently being conducted in
Northern Ireland and Scotland, with a view to (a) ensuring that relevant
information is shared, and (b) identifying any State or non‐State institutions
with child protection obligations that currently fall outside the scope of the
present Inquiry and those being conducted in the devolved jurisdictions;
g. Produce regular reports, and an interim report by the end of 2018; and
h. Conduct the work of the Inquiry as transparent a manner as possible,
consistent with the effective investigation of the matters falling within the
terms of reference, and having regard to all the relevant duties of
confidentiality.
INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
OFFICIAL
Scope
3. State and non‐State institutions. Such institutions will, for example, include:
a. Government departments, the Cabinet Office, Parliament and Ministers;
b. Police, prosecuting authorities, schools including private and state‐funded
boarding and day schools, specialist education (such as music tuition), Local
Authorities (including care homes and children’s services), health services,
and prisons/secure estates;
c. Churches and other religious denominations and organisations;
d. Political Parties; and
e. The Armed Services.
4. The Inquiry will cover England and Wales. Should the Inquiry identify any
material relating to the devolved administrations, it will be passed to the
relevant authorities;
5. The Inquiry will not address allegations relating to events in the Overseas
Territories or Crown Dependencies. However, any such allegations received by
the Inquiry will be referred to the relevant law enforcement bodies in those
jurisdictions;
6. For the purposes of this Inquiry “child” means anyone under the age of 18.
However, the panel will consider abuse of individuals over the age of 18, if that
abuse started when the individual was a minor.
Principles
7. The Inquiry will have full access to all the material it seeks.
8. Any allegation of child abuse received by the Inquiry will be referred to the
Police;
9. All personal and sensitive information will be appropriately protected; and will
be made available only to those who need to see it; and
10. It is not part of the Inquiry’s function to determine civil or criminal liability of
named individuals or organisations. This should not, however, inhibit the Inquiry
from reaching findings of fact relevant to its terms of reference.

ends

Appendix B

2015 May 28  BBC UK agents ‘worked with NI paramilitary killers’ [38] 

British security forces had thousands of agents and informants working inside Northern Ireland paramilitary groups, the BBC’s Panorama has learned.

The undercover operatives were recruited by the Army, MI5 and Special Branch and many were involved in criminality and murder.

Ex-Met Police commissioner Lord Stevens said the agents caused huge problems in Northern Ireland.

The government says collusion with paramilitaries should never happen.

Lord Stevens led three government investigations into the security forces in Northern Ireland and has revealed the scale of the counter-intelligence operation for the first time.

Lord Stevens also told BBC Panorama that thousands of agents and informants were recruited during the Troubles, and that just one of the agents – Brian Nelson – may be linked to “dozens and dozens” of murders.

Nelson, who was a paid army agent, provided assassination targets for the three main Loyalist paramilitary groups – the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando.

During his investigations in Northern Ireland, Lord Stevens and his team arrested 210 paramilitary suspects. He says that 207 of them were agents or informants for the state.

Crime ‘impunity’

Baroness Nuala O’Loan, who was Northern Ireland’s first police ombudsman, also found evidence that state agents were involved in murder.

She tells Panorama that the security forces failed to control their undercover operatives.

“They were running informants and their argument was that they were saving lives, but hundreds and hundreds of people died because these people were not brought to justice,” she said.

“There was impunity really for these people to go on committing their crimes. Many of them were killers, some were serial killers.”

One Special Branch agent in north Belfast has been linked to 20 murders.

Mark Haddock, who ran one of the Ulster Volunteer Force’s most notorious terror gangs, was paid at least £79,000 for his work as a police agent.

The police ombudsman of Northern Ireland is currently investigating 60 murder cases where the state has been accused of involvement.

These investigations were delayed because the police refused to hand over crucial evidence to the ombudsman.

But following a court challenge last year, the new Chief Constable George Hamilton agreed to hand over the intelligence files.

He told the programme that he was willing to work with the ombudsman, but the information needs to be handled carefully.

“There is a need to understand the sheer magnitude of what we are dealing with. We are talking about rooms full of material.

“Some of it is very sensitive, some of which if it is released in the wrong circumstances would be outside of legislation, some of it if released in the wrong circumstances could put lives at risk.”

The government says that the vast majority of those who served in the security forces did so with distinction. It says collusion with paramilitaries should never happen and the government has apologised where it did.

Panorama: Britain’s Secret Terror Deals is on BBC One at 21:00 BST on Thursday 28 May 2015 and available later via BBC iPlayer.

Appendix C

End Goddard Child Abuse Inquiry Discrimination Against Survivors [36]

Dear Justice Goddard

Following the exclusion of survivor and whistleblower, Nigel O’Mara from core participation in the Independent Institutional Child Sex Abuse Inquiry, we the undersigned survivors, lawyers, child protection professionals, whistleblowers and associated professionals are deeply concerned that the inquiry is failing with its pledge to keep “survivors at the heart of the inquiry”. Indeed it is currently putting up barriers to equal participation for disclosed survivors. If this Inquiry does fail to bring survivors with it then this will utterly undermine both survivor and public confidence in the Inquiry.

Survivors welcomed your statement that the Inquiry required “a commitment to hear all sides with an open mind … and under conditions which provide a fair opportunity for all of those affected by the Inquiry to … put their points across.”

The Inquiry should give Survivors’ legal representatives guaranteed access to funding to represent their clients fully, prior to applications. Critically, the Inquiry should also give equal ‘institutional’ representation rights to committed and knowledgeable Survivor groups.

Those institutions (e.g. the Home Office), which were at the heart of failing the children, will have core participant status across all or most modules and investigations. They will be able to draw upon evidence from one module to another to the benefit of those institutions as opposed to Survivors who will be shut out of such evidence.

As matters stand, no independent Survivor representative group has the ability, funding or means to compete, in any way, with the access to evidence and influence that these establishment institutions (who failed children) will have. This fails to recognise the fact that survivor groups such as Survivors of Organised & Institutional Abuse (SOIA) are sometimes the only organisations that survivors are prepared to trust.

Not affording Survivor representative groups core participant status across all modules is not reasonably or objectively justified, leaving Survivors at the margins of this Inquiry as disempowered observers.

As a matter of fairness, at least one independent Survivor representative group with overarching knowledge of child abuse, such as SOIA must be granted core participant status in all the Inquiry’s modules and investigations.

Granting such an application would help build confidence amongst Survivors by transparently putting the interests of Survivors on equal footing to those established institutions that have failed them.

The Inquiry must also put much greater effort into making all survivors aware of the Inquiry. This requires immediate and widespread publicity, utilising survivor networks, television, radio and social media. Otherwise this once in a “generation” opportunity will fail not only survivors today but also future generations of children.

 

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the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Church abuse, Cyril Smith, IICSA Goddard / Jay child sexual abuse Inquiry, IICSA Independent panel inquiry into child sexual abuse, Labour Party, VIP CSA and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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