Child Sex Abuse Inquiry: Correcting a misleading report in the Guardian

On September 23  my old employer The Guardian published a report on developments in the Westminster paedophile inquiry.

The article examined the big pressures facing ” Operation Midland” the Met Police criminal investigation into claims against prominent people accused of child sex abuse. and also raised issues by survivors about the role of Exaro, – I am a freelance contributor – in the setting up of the child sex abuse inquiry.

The passage affecting me said :

“Others have raised concerns about Exaro to senior Home Office officials over its role in the setting up of what eventually became the Goddard inquiry.

One complaint came last November over the presence of its journalist, David Hencke, a former Guardian reporter, at a private meeting for survivors and their representatives. A second complaint was made to another senior inquiry official three months later, alleging that the role Exaro was playing – “seemingly with the assistance of panel members” –was “causing havoc” among some survivors.”

The facts are these.

My attendance at the meeting in question was approved by the then secretariat of the  independent panel following a request by a panel member. The meeting was not about establishing the inquiry but a consultation exercise involving survivors and other people interested  and concerned about the issue of child sexual abuse. At the meeting I was completely open, stated who I was, and agreed, because some of the accounts given by people there were very harrowing, never  to report anything that was said. I never have. No  one raised  any objections at the time. and I was thanked by the secretariat for making my position clear afterwards.

If there have been any complaints afterwards no one from the Home Office has raised them with me. I am sure they would if it was regarded as a serious matter.

I  want to put the record straight because in an entirely different capacity I am  a member of an independent panel dealing with very sensitive issues and I would not like people to think that I had gatecrashed meetings on child sex abuse without being invited in the first place.

I asked The Guardian to correct this misleading point but its Readers Editor declined. That is their prerogative. But it is also my right to put the record straight on my own blog.

9 thoughts on “Child Sex Abuse Inquiry: Correcting a misleading report in the Guardian

  1. Thank you so much for this clarification. I am dumbfounded by the Guardian’s refusal to publish this correction, in particular in light of the effect that such misinformation is likely to have on vulnerable survivors of child sex abuse.
    Like many others I have found the VIP child sex abuse revelations – and the media coverage – to be an eye-opener.
    I always trusted the Guardian as bastion of the liberal/progressive press. Now realise, just like the Mail and all the rest of them, it is a corporate/big money mouthpiece.
    I spent a couple of years writing to the Guardian editor and posting comments on their live blog (only place you can post on child sex abuse) in an entirely unsuccessful attempt to have my views (shared by so many) heard, but have now given up entirely – they just don’t want to know.
    Am Twittering and have started blog, in attempt to spread the word in any way possible about the child sex abuse cover ups / media smears and dirty tricks campaigns.
    Exaro and you David Hencke are beacons of light in a quagmire of lies, deceit, and duplicitous propaganda.
    Thank you.

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  2. The complaints against Mr Hencke must be seen in context with other complaints against panel members, vulnerable survivors, EXARO, and just about anyone who dares to challenge a small group of vocal and very nasty campaigners who have tried, and failed, to undermine the CSA inquiry. The Guardian has been a favourite outlet for these campaigners to promote their malicious cause, but they will not succeed. As a member of the original, non statutory panel of inquiry, I was subjected to a baptism of fire from these individuals, but as events unfold, they, and others who support and manipulate them from the shadows, will be exposed. David Hencke is not just a brilliant investigative journalist, he is also a man of principles, unlike those who spend all day, every day, pumping out their vile messages of hate on social media and in the main stream press and media. Now that the inquiry has finally begun its work, the previous media vacuum they filled, as the original inquiry lurched from crisis to crisis, they have been shown to be irrelevant, but they continue to cause alarm and distress to many, and they will
    be held to account.

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    • No survivor is irrelevant,regardless of behaviour,attitude,or manner of expression.The survivors have been divided into camps by those self-serving,position seeking,self appointed leaders.It is they that should be looking at themselves..If one dares to voice an opinion which differs from a camp leaders they receive the weight of that camps manipulated backlash..Questions met with rebuttal instead of answers.Orchestrated provocation The bullying of the vulnerable.There lies the problem..A fear to speak as individuals has been installed..A hierarchy imposed. Sadly some very intelligent knowledgeable, academics and many credible contributors have been pre judged and condemned .Too many chiefs shooting the indians….and no doubt claiming expenses for the privilege..

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    • Personally I think he has every right to attend, as an invited guest & human being who seemingly cares about the issue of child sexual abuse. It was consultation exercise, survivors AND supporter opinions are relevant
      None of us know each others lives and experiences, none of us know which of us still cannot speak out about CSA. Who are you to try and silence the participation of another who seeks to help?

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  3. Take no notice David, I would be astonished if you did anything other than keep the best interests of the survivors in the utmost regard. You must realize by now that you don’t get the flack till you’re over the target, and there are many in high places who are extreemly worried about what will finally come out despite their best efforts to stop it. Keep up the good work mate, we need more honest journalism and less ass kissing of the dubiously funded, main stream press and establishment. Most who post on here have no idea what you have been through to support the survivors and bring these issues to the fore, so just ignore them, 🙂

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