I made these submissions in August to the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee investigating child abuse at Knottfield.
I make it public now because I believe it is important that wider public should know what happened, and because I know people on the island are afraid to publically divulge what happened in case of reprisals. Also many inquiries are disappointing and cover up information unnecessarily, by accident or artifice, so a public submission is useful.
This is only just a part of the abuse that happened, partly because I have only been told some things by some people and partly because some things I know could not be divulged without revealing the source.
I have redacted the name of the Head of the Knottfield who was a child abuser. He was in fact Mr X, Mr Y and Mr Z in a previous post Isle of Man Knottfield Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Aug 2017 . The depth of the public cover up of his child sexual abuse offending was immense, on 3 different occasions. I did provide this name to the Committee, but have redacted it here as he is meant to be ill. His identity is known to many.
One of the main jobs of the committee’s investigation should be to detail the cover up of his child sexual abuse offending, name individuals and organisations who covered up and explain why it happened.
The submission was not made in my usual format of references nor was as comprehensive as I would have liked due to the difficulties I had with illness and lack of internet access.
My submissions were
Submission to the IOM Inquiry into Knottfield Part 1
This comprises Part 1 of my submission to the committee investigation child sexual abuse at Knottfield
They are all articles I have published on child sexual abuse on the island and form some of the the only research done as far as I know on child sexual abuse on the island.
Please tell me if you wish the text to be actually sent to you
- 2015 May 25 Cathy Fox Blog Child Sexual Abuse in the Isle of Man  https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/child-sexual-abuse-in-the-isle-of-man/
- 2015 May 25 Cathy Fox Blog 10 Steps on How to Research Child Sexual Abuse in your area – A Rough Guide Uses IOM as an example  https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/researching-child-sexual-abuse-in-your-area-a-rough-guide/
- 2016 Feb 15 Cathy Fox Blog IOM Child Sexual Abuse Update Feb 2016  https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/iom-child-sexual-abuse-update-feb-2016/
- 2016 Feb 16 Cathy Fox Blog Isle of Man: Counselling for Victims / Survivors  https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/isle-of-man-counselling-for-victims-survivors/
- 2017 Aug 3 Cathy Fox Blog Isle of Man Knottfield Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Aug 2017  https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/isle-of-man-knottfield-child-sexual-abuse-investigation-aug-2017/
As I mention in the last article reproduced below, I am concerned about the arrangements for contributions. I wonder if my concerns would be addressed so that survivors are given the most opportunity to contribute?
- I am disturbed that not much thought appears to have gone into making it easy for survivors and whistleblowers to contribute in whatever form is easiest or best for them. I think this is due to ignorance rather than done deliberately.
- Due to being raped as a child when other children were learning how to read and write, some survivors may find it easier to give their submissions by speaking not writing. Certainly the option should be open to submit a voice recording to the committee.
- It would also be useful if the committee were to take some evidence from people directly rather than via written or verbal recordings. It is only then that the magnitude of the impact of the abuse on the victim may be recognised and personally witnessed by the committee.
- Some people victims, survivors and whistleblowers may wish to submit anonymously for a host of good reasons eg their family may still not know about the abuse, their job may not know, they may not trust the committee, they may not be ready for even private disclosure at this time.
- Methods of contributing to the committees investigation by anonymous means should be spelled out and welcomed.
- It should be made clearer what confidentiality and privacy arrangements are. The various options need to be spelled out.
- What appears to be a general Tynwald email address is given out. This may not be as private as a dedicated email address. In case one is not, perhaps this may be better contact as an interim – Clerk to the Committee is: Jonathan KING Contact Tel: 01624 686303 email email@example.com
Due to shortage of time I have not finished all my submission and will address more aspects of Knottfield abuse in due course, but I wanted to get this first submission in to start with.
Submission to the IOM Inquiry into Knottfield Part 2
This submission has had to be written under extreme shortage of time, computer access and internet access. It is thus not as comprehensive as I had intended.
In Part 1 I included my posts on child abuse in the Isle of Man. I add to those my post on Isle of Man – Paedophile Paradise for downloading child abuse pictures
After the conditions for submissions were announced I wrote to Jonathan King, Deputy Clerk of Tynwald and Clerk of the Legislative Council as I had some worries about the format of submissions.
I know that many survivors may prefer different methods of submission than a written format. He said that the conditions for submissions had changed and that some survivors could make direct verbal submissions to the committee. Hopefully this was made clear in the press and so that the widest amount of people have a chance to submit their experiences.
The terms of reference of an inquiry are vital in determining what is investigated. The motion in Tynwald on 18 th July stated
“That Tynwald notes with concern reports of historical child abuse at the former Knottfield Children’s Home, which closed in 1983, and refers the matter to the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee to report by December 2017; and further instructs the Committee to investigate the adequacy of current procedures to protect from abuse children in care (looked after children) in the Isle of Man and to report in March 2018”
I was somewhat confused by Mr King statement to me “Historic abuse at Glencrutchery Road and connected abuse is not explicitly included in the Committee’s remit; however, the remit does extend to “the adequacy of current procedures” and any historic abuse could have potential relevance to this”
I believe the motion is clear that historical child referred to the SAPR and it is not just of “potential relevance to current practice. Mr King did offer to explain to me but I have not had a chance due to my restricted communication access at the minute. Hopefully there is not another remit that I am not aware of.
My information comes from survivors, whistleblowers and public sources such as newspapers.
The nature of disclosure, means that not all statements are fully clear or fully understood by me at the time, and are not followed up to avoid further trauma to a survivor.
The difficult balance now for me is to protect the confidentiality of sources, whilst detailing the nature of the abuse I have been told about. Some information has had to be withheld due to this.
I have the utmost admiration for all survivors, who suffered and still suffer much damage from the abuse, cover ups, investigations and inadequate healing and counselling. The survivors main goal in disclosing abuse invariably is to stop other children suffering what they had to go through and for the truth to come out about what happened.
I also have the utmost admiration also for whistleblowers who take what they believe to be morally, ethically and legally the correct position and expose wrongdoing only to be ostracised, isolated, their career ended for telling the truth.
Child Sexual Abuse at Knottfield
Child sexual abuse at Knottfield was perpetrated on children by male and female staff and at least one visitor.
One of the worst abusers at Knottfield was xxxxx xxxxx, whose full name I have been given as xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx [Number of x’s not relevant]. He was I believe in charge of the home. [I have redacted the name in the public version for the time being as the man is said to be ill. The name is well known by many people]
xxxxx is the Mr X, Mr Y and Mr Z in my post. All the questions in that post are relevant and should be answered by the investigation. He was not named in that post as he apparently is severely ill.
xxxxx also trafficked a child from Knottfield to Manchester for the purposes of abuse, which was supposedly investigated as part of Operation Cleopatra.Witnesses should be sought from the Greater Manchester Police.
xxxxx it appears was tried and jailed for child abuse and the public not informed. He was tried and sentenced for only a part of the abuse he perpetrated. Many children were not interviewed.
xxxxx was in contact with other paedophiles, both on the island and off the island. Who were they? Was his role not only as an abuser but procurer of children for abuse by others?
The cover up of xxxxx abuse, trial and imprisonment was massive and involved hundreds of people. Why was it hidden so well?
It may be that xxxxx abuse also extended to the Church, Methodist Church I believe.
The woman staff member it is believed committed child sexual abuse on more than one child. (It should be noted that this abuse can be as sever in its effects on the victims as a male abusing)
A visitor to Knottfield is believed to have abused at least one child whilst that child was in the care of Knottfield.
Knottfield Abuse Cover up
The Isle of Man authorities have got a bad reputation as regards covering up child sexual abuse
“To be able to get this old boys club to sit up and listen, to act upon what they hear and to then change our archaic processes is proving impossible”
“the authorities themselves are a criminal network of abusers that protect high status abusers”
“more abuses, more victims and the IOM government just sweeps it all away”
“To be abused by a paedophile is truly a most sickening thing to endure over and over again. But to be raped and investigated by the people you turn to for help with these matters is completely soul destroying”
I am told that the cover up regarding child sexual abuse have involved the Police, the Police Complaints Commissioner, the Attorney Generals Office and at least one MHK amongst others. Also involved were Social Services, Board of Education, Knottfield Childrens Home, See Isle of Man Knottfield Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Aug 2017 https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/isle-of-man-knottfield-child-sexual-abuse-investigation-aug-2017/
It is obvious though that cover up extends by design or unwittingly to many more people in many authorities.
Knottfield Management and Records
The historic management of Knottfield Childrens Home and its predecessor at Glencrutchery Road is unclear, is not understood by anyone that I know and there appears to be a lack of records.
- What was the link to the Isle of Man Home for Orphans & Destitute Children?
- What is the link to the current Children’s Centre?
- There appears to be some involvement of Knottfield with the Board of Education and the Knottfield appears to have had a Board of Directors.
- Who were the people at the Board of Education who ran Knottfield and Glencrutchery Childrens Home until it closed?
- Where are those Board of Education minutes and reports?
- Inspection of Knottfield childrens home. What were the laws, rules in 1960s , 1970s and 1980s to the present? Who should have inspected? Where are those reports?
- Who were the Board of Directors of Knottfield (and Glencrutchery)?
- Where are those Board of Directors minutes of meetings and annual reports and other records?
- Who were the Trustees of Knottfield and Glencrutchery?
- Where are those Trustee minutes of meetings and annual reports and other records?
- What were the Trustees, Board of Directors and Board of Education links to other organisations and possible conflicts of interest
- Why is the current Childrens Centre in charge of some records from Knottfield?
- What happened to the actual files of personal records of the children?
- What Knottfield records should there have been and where are they?
Around 2016 I asked the Manx Museum what information they held on Knottfield and their answer was as follows – Manx Museum firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some Children’s Centre records lodged in the Manx National Heritage Library and Archives for safekeeping (not general research) including one register of former residents dating from the late 1860s to 1983. However access to records is via the Children’s Centre on request not directly at the Manx Museum. The contact person is a lady called Mandy Delaney. The museum service may extract details for the Children’s Centre to relay.
The records we hold are as follows: MNH ref: MS 13395 Archives of The Children’s Centre, Douglas
- admission and discharge register, 1869-1983; The register covers the span of the Douglas home/s and has one line of information only per child
- admission forms, 1877-1934;
- daybook 1870-1896;
- minute books, 1945-1956 and 1967-1976;
- cash books, 1908-1912 and 1907-1920
- annual reports, 1890-1978
1869-1983 4 small archival boxes
I believe the Dalmeny, [Ramsey Childrens Home] home records were shipped off island but do not have any information to hand.
It would be helpful if the investigation laid out precisely the situation about all records and information available.
Other Child Sexual Abuse on IOM
Knottfield was far from the only abuse on the island.
I believe abuse happened at Ramsey Childrens Home which appears to have been run by National Childrens Homes but there must have been some IOM authority involvement in the existence and running of the home.
Abuse also happened after 1983 in other institutions.
Doubts still remain remain over the double murder of children from the childrens home and the police investigation.
I have been told also of abuse by the Methodist Church and Anglican Diocese of Sodor and Mann.
80% of all abuse is said to be domestic/familial abuse. Much child sexual abuse on the island was familial or did not involve institutional abuse. This either was not acted upon when reported, or not reported as it was felt nothing would be done.
The information entrusted to me is only a part of the picture of child sexual abuse at Knotffield and on the Isle of Man. However it is a disturbing picture.
Immediate action should be taken to make provision for the abused children, now adults who desperately need it. The demand has increased due to recent police investigations reawakening memories of past abuse and mostly inadequate counselling available. 2016 Feb 16 Cathy Fox Blog Isle of Man: Counselling for Victims / Survivors https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/isle-of-man-counselling-for-victims-survivors/
Demand is likely to increase further with people disclosing to the inquiry as well as child sexual abuse being more in the news.
I believe that there should be an island wide inquiry into child sexual abuse. Anything less than this will mean that many abused children are let down, abuse covered up and lessons not learned. To rid the Isle of Man of the scourge of child sexual abuse demands no less.
 2017 Aug 3 Cathy Fox Blog Isle of Man Knottfield Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Aug 2017 https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/isle-of-man-knottfield-child-sexual-abuse-investigation-aug-2017/
[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html
Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum