Welcome to another week.
As part of its Truth Project, which records and publishes individual experiences related to abuse, it has been revealed that the nation’s child abuse inquiry will be going into jails to ask prisoners about their personal experiences of child abuse.
The Inquiry believes the prison population harbours a significant portion of victims of child abuse and that several inmates may have turned to crime after being damaged by their treatment as children.
Critics of the move have expressed concern that some prisoners may lie about having been abused to justify their offences or make fraudulent compensation claims. Others are questioning the way in which the experiences will be collected, suggesting that allowing experiences to be recorded by the Project before checking the facts could lead to innocent people being implicated.
Barrister, Barbara Hewson:
“I think it is trawling. It’s all very well to say they want to look into institutional abuse but the more they do this and encourage people, some people will start to think maybe they can go for compensation.
They may well be people who have a long history of dishonesty and who see this as an opportunity to portray themselves as being wronged.”
Former Tory MP, Harvey Proctor, who was investigated over child abuse claims:
“There is no veracity in the Truth Project because statements are made to it without any checks.
Anyone can say anything about anyone and it is not checked, but it goes down in history as truth. Many of the prisoners will have lied to the courts, but the inquiry has the default position that they believe what is said.”
Those in favour of the Truth Project and this latest initiative explain that there is strong evidence to suggest that victims and survivors of abuse are over represented in prisons, and whilst claims made won’t be checked by the Inquiry itself, cases will be passed on to the police to investigate.
The Truth Project was designed to allow men and women abused as children to share their stories. Being able to share experiences in this way is believed to be cathartic and offers those abused the chance to feel vindicated after long periods, often, of having to conceal abuse or face ridicule and disbelief when trying to alert others to their experiences.
Our question this week then, is this: do you agree with those against the initiative, or those for it?