Chris Tuck, a survivor and representative from a group called Survivors of Abuse has very diligently made notes of the meeting that took place last week between members of the Inquiry and several survivors.
Amongst those listed as present were John O’Brien, Director of Safeguarding at the Home Office; Liz Sanderson, Theresa May’s media spin doctor; at least three Inquiry’s panel members and 10 Survivors/Survivor Organisations which included SOB, NAPAC, Rape Crisis, Survivors Alliance and representation from Scotland & Wales.
The three key points raised by survivors at the meeting were that:
- The inquiry must be statutory & independent
- The need for transparency around the panel
- The TOR needs to be expanded geographically and start from at least the 1950’s
O’Brien told the attendees that the first thing that needed to sorted out was getting the Chair in place and that he hoped this could move forward with more haste after a meeting taking place today (8th December). Survivors were going to be given a package of items to look over, but the notes don’t clarify what this refers to or the weight to be given in terms of survivor comment on this package.
It’s clear from the notes that survivors have become increasingly distrustful of the Inquiry and its members and it appears that this phase is the government’s last chance to get the Inquiry right before they are inundated with a mass boycott of the thing.
It’s also apparent from the meeting that people were not happy with the panel, and several attendees complained about not having yet received replies to their emails from certain panel members. They were assured that responses would be delivered but it had to be done in the appropriate way.
Any delayed responses to communication now may well be due to the recent storm surrounding panel members who have engaged in communication with other survivors, and so it is likely that communication may well be being vetted before it’s sent off.
The call to increase the geographical remit included involving Scotland, and survivors were told that they had invited Scotland to join. A Scottish representative then said the invitation would be accepted. Survivors also wanted to include other countries as they felt many paedophiles had fled the UK and so were likely to evade justice.
Survivors also want to take the Inquiry back to the 1950s, to include everyone who is still alive today.
It was confirmed that all alleged perpetrators’ names would be passed on to the police to deal with.
A support package for victims was also discussed.
The overall sentiment from this meeting was that the government really were working hard to get it right and apologetic for failing to include survivors from the start. But it was also made plain that if the government failed to deliver a proper Inquiry survivors would walk away from the process, which would leave the Inquiry helpless, and impotent.
An interesting meeting and we hope today’s session makes further progress. (You can read our thoughts on improving the Inquiry here).
Thank you to JG for alerting us to this website.