Campaigners for a fair and just child abuse inquiry gathered in Parliament Square last weekend (11th April), to highlight those issues which remain at the core of past and present abuse.
Speaking on behalf of those who had suffered abuse, politicians, victims, survivors and whistleblowers all shared their thoughts on the current investigation into child sexual abuse. Those who could not attend the meeting, added their thoughts so that they could be shared on the day.
One campaigner has very kindly provided us with statements that were prepared for the demonstration, and so we add them below:
‘I have no doubt that grotesque things have happened at Elm Guesthouse and other places around the country at the hands of depraved and powerful people, and that those things were systematically covered up. The evidence is overwhelming, and it is a national disgrace that it has taken so long for Governments to act.
But I am pleased that thanks to extraordinary campaigning by some journalists and many, many survivors, the Home Secretary has heard those arguments, and that she set in place an all encompassing inquiry. The very fact that the Inquiry is happening has already stimulated far great action by police. I hope the process is sufficiently advanced that whatever happens at the election, we will get to the bottom of these monstrous events. But it is for all of us to remain vigilant and ensure the inquiry is never blown off course. Victims need to be heard, and criminals need to face the law.
I want to congratulate and thank all those – both inside and outside of Parliament – who helped pressure the Government to take action. For many, the wait has been a lifetime, but it is drawing to a close.’
“Child abuse is one of this country’s most shameful secrets and I’m pleased to see it’s now being dragged out of the shadows and people are slowly waking up to the fact that we’ve turned a blind eye to a massive scandal for far too long.
“I’m sorry I can’t be with you today. I’m currently campaigning to stay in Parliament where I hope to carry on fighting to secure justice and better support for survivors of child sexual abuse.
“I know we’re now in a General Election period and I share your frustration that Parliament is making slow progress in its inquiry into decades of child abuse that’s been covered up by the establishment. But your voices will not be silenced, your determination to get to the truth will not be stopped and I’m confident that the powers that be will not be able to put this genie back in the bottle. The truth must and will be told.”
“I support any and all efforts to expose how grievously survivors of child abuse continue to be failed in this country.
Only with effective campaigning and the organisation of survivors’ groups has it become possible that perpetrators at all levels of society can be brought to justice, and for survivors to receive justice.
That is a crucial point. The cover-ups of so-called VIP abusers are very important, but we must always remember that children have been abused in every part of the country and at every level of society.
Some of the people who have come to me in Nottinghamshire have told me of their horrific experiences of abuse and how they have been failed by the very agencies that should have been there to support them. There are hundreds of cases in Nottinghamshire alone that need prosecuting, and resources need to be put in place to go much further than that. A national institute for survivors of abuse would bring those agencies that are currently failing survivors together and provide the support that they really deserve. Concerted pressure on all MPs after the election can make this happen.
The campaign must be non-partisan and we will find that we have unlikely allies. A few decent Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs voted for my measure to lift the threat of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act in cases of child abuse. If I am re-elected I will re-submit my proposal to change the law and allow special branch officers, the police and others to come forward with evidence without fear of being prosecuted under the official secrets act.
The outstanding efforts of campaigners have forced the issue of child abuse up the political agenda. If that continues, alongside the national inquiry, we can achieve for survivors the justice that many of them should have received years ago, and build systems that will create a better world for the survivors of the future.”
Phil Frampton, Barnardo’s Survivor, Whiteflowers Group
“It is important that child abuse survivors stand up and show that they are not prepared to be marginalised by the government’s child abuse inquiry, which is descending into a YES MINISTER Farce.
Justice Goddard has declared that abuse survivors lack objectivity and therefore cannot be on the Inquiry Panel. Instead, she declares that some of them can sit on a consultation panel. But this consultative panel is by definition tarred with the same brush as lacking objectivity.
The Ban on survivors being on the Panel is a direct slur on those of us that have disclosed and the attack on our objectivity is the same as that which stops over 10 million people disclosing in this country for fear of stigmatisation. The Home Office actions will not encourage people to disclose and therefore leave paedophiles at large and children at serious risk.
The Home Office are squirming. They refused to confirm that all members of the Panel were checked as to whether they were survivors of child sex abuse or not. The ban is just an excuse to bar survivors.
Meanwhile on the Panel is Druscilla Sharpling who is employed by the Home Office and Alexis Jay who was a senior social work manager – so how independent will they be? They have a clear conflict of interest and such people will not shine a torch into the dark corners for fear they will see themselves and their friends.
Only major protest by the survivors plus public outrage has stopped this Inquiry from being a complete farce. So we continue our fight. Meanwhile we must not forget that this Inquiry was supposed to deal with the establishment.
You start sweeping the stairs from the top.
I believe that we now need a separate urgent inquiry, which should report in 12 to 18 months time on the child abuse and cover ups which involved members of the Houses of Parliament and senior government officials. Venceremos”
Peter McKelvie, Child protection officer and Islington whistleblower
” I have little doubt that a relatively small but significant number of MP’s and Lords have sexually abused vulnerable children over at least the last 50 years.
Present information implies that the number could be between 20 and 30 but the allegations need to be thoroughly investigated and final figures could be higher
I have no doubt in my mind that politicians from all 3 main political parties are amongst the most powerful names that have been passed to various Police forces In the last couple of years
I have also no doubt in my mind that the hierarchies of all 3 main political parties would have known of any allegation against someone in their own party and that there has been a history of collusion and cover up right across the board amongst individuals and agencies that should have exposed such criminal behaviour and put child protection before any other consideration ”
Kaz Tiggr, Survivor
” The one thing survivors were promised in 2012 was support. That support has not been forthcoming.
There are tales of key witnesses being left to make their own way to Sentencing. A key factor in the journey toward acceptance of events and a certain level of Closure.
People, two years after being promised counselling, are still waiting for it to start or are being told to fund it themselves.
The police are very unapproachable, for the most part. Unwilling to push the boundaries of their remit or explore the truth of what they are supposed to investigate.
When asked if she had read the Waterhouse Report, one DC sent out to survivors homes under
Operation Pallial said; “Of course not, have you Seen the Size of it?”
The survivor replied “Yes, I’ve read it several times.”.
One thing that nobody seems to be taking into account the effect this has on survivor’s families. Loved ones are left to pick up the pieces each time a dark anniversary comes around, or a chance remark triggers a memory, or the Police phone to say the CPS are going to write to say, “Sorry, not enough evidence to prosecute.” or worse “Sorry, time limitation…”.
There is no help for those that see the daily self-destruction and can do nothing to stop it.”
A very big thank you to Terri Thatcher for sharing these statements and photos with us.