It’s a hugely interesting development – Michael Mansfield QC, who heads up Mansfield Chambers has offered, along with Public Interest Lawyers to help survivors secure a central role within the nation’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

This move comes after concerns that the Inquiry would not be able to investigate the establishment independently as it stands, despite its Survivors Panel and regular meetings with victims of child sexual abuse.

Lead by the SOIA (Survivors of Organised & Institutional Abuse), which is an offshoot of the White Flowers Campaign, a project designed to monitor and assist the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, this initiative seeks to involve all survivors and victims of child sexual abuse who wish to have a voice or guide the inquiry as it progresses.

We were very kindly sent an email with the details of this latest development, so we add it in part below:

Core participants/ What does it mean and why is it important?
“For the Inquiry to have any legitimacy it must place Survivors first and foremost. It was no good asking the Establishment to investigate themselves. There was and is corruption saturating every level of the Establishment. That is why it is vital for Survivors and Whistleblowers, under the umbrella of Whiteflowers, to mount “collective action” as Michael Mansfield QC, put it, to force the Inquiry to be a meaningful and credible process.
This can happen if we pull our weight behind the SOIA application to be treated not just as witnesses or consultants but as Core Participants.
(SOIA welcomes involvement for the application of Survivor supporters, Survivor Groups, Whistleblowers and Survivors of opportunistic or domestic child abuse.)
Practically, SOIA will make an application to the Inquiry assisted by PIL, (Public Interest Lawyers) and Mansfield Chambers (who have worked for free) to the Inquiry for us to be treated as ‘core participants’. If this application is granted Survivors will have a permanent and independent place within the Inquiry.

What is the legal definition of a core participant?
Under the Inquiry Rules (2006) the Chairman may designate a person as a core participant if she considers whether that person played or may have played a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates whether that person has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates, or the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings, in the report or in any interim report. Then where two or more core participants each of whom seeks to be legally represented and the chairman considers that:

  • Their interests in the outcome of the inquiry are similar
  • The facts they are likely o rely upon are similar, and

It is fair and proper for them to be jointly represented
Then the chair can designate a single representative BUT the core participants must agree.

We are campaigning for SOIA to be recognised as a core participant and we need Survivors and their supporters to unite and support that application.”

If you would like to get involved, please get in touch, either via email or through the comments section below and we will send you further information and the application form for you to fill out.

Good luck to you all. xxxx

Many thanks to Terri Thatcher for sharing this item with us.