A worrying indictment of how child sex abuse cases are handled today


This week the inquiry into historic child sexual abuse under New Zealand judge Lady Justice Goddard will start preliminary hearings which could last years. On Wednesday it starts with a hearing into allegations against the late Lord Janner. The following Wednesday there are two short sessions looking into abuse inside the Anglican Church and at Knowl View and other venues in Rochdale and on Thursday March 24  into child sexual abuse of people in the care of Lambeth Council. The details are here.

Last week a report came out from the United Kingdom  Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal- a very small scale investigation that took evidence from 24 people covering different types of sexual abuse with families, institutions and paedophile rings. What comes out – apart from horrific stories from the testimony of individuals – is a system not capable of sensitively handling the issue. As it says in this paragraph:

people's tribunal two

That to my mind  is as important as the recommendations reported on Mail On line by  the Press Association here . These include a permanent commission,provision of advocates to survivors  proper links between mental health and  police investigating abuse  and a safe channel for victims yo give evidence anonymously.plus better training for police, the judiciary and the health service to handle cases.

This report deserves to be taken seriously as its steering committee was composed ,mainly of survivors themselves  aided by professional advisers and two experts, Regina Paulose, an American lawyer and former prosecutor and Alan Collins, a British solicitor with enormous experience in handling child abuse cases from Jersey’s Haut de la Garenne inquiry  to Australia and Kenya.

If the Goddard Inquiry really wants to tackle the issue they could  not do much better than take  this on board  when they start their hearings.

The full report can be found here.






10 thoughts on “A worrying indictment of how child sex abuse cases are handled today

  1. I agree.
    It felt great to see the People’s Tribunal report, speaking authoritatively, clearly and compassionately about these sensitive issues. Much of the training in mental health training for the police and NHS is done on an academic or theoretical level, which doesn’t engage people on the emotional level they need to be equipped and sensitive to. So better training for the police would be a good start.


  2. David, you’re right to highlight this passage from the People’s Tribunal report. It explains why “historical abusers” are able to mock survivors and effectively re-abuse them when their reports are disregarded as “late” or “unreliable” .

    In an interview at the time of the White Flower Campaign meeting at Westminster Nigel O’Mara said that he’d paid dearly for his efforts to bring the issue of abuse in care homes into the public domain after setting up The Survivors’ Helpline for male survivors.

    He and other friends reported being sexually abused to the police aged 12 but nothing was done. He was told that this didn’t happen to boys. Many of his friends were no longer around. Some, like Jason Swift, were murdered, others succumbed to suicide or drugs. The effects of having been abused in childhood were catastrophic.

    O’Mara rebelled against the people who had been in charge of him. When he emerged from the care system he was left to become homeless. He was destitute. He survived through prostitution, and drugs enabled him to survive prostitution. The untold damage caused by the cycle of self-harm still affected him 40 years on from the abuse. Services were needed to ensure that everyone requiring support was able to get it.

    The People’s Tribunal conclusion that “The vital mental health needs of survivors are not being met and this hampers both their psychological recovery and access to the criminal justice system” needs to be acted on without further delay. Whether the Goddard Inquiry is well-intentioned or otherwise, the inevitable delay before any conclusions are published and recommendations implemented will add to the delay before survivors receive the necessary support to come to terms with their experiences and ongoing psychological damage. The People’s Tribunal conclusions are a call for more urgent action.


      • I’ve known too many survivors given a bad name by authorities deliberately to try and keep them under control and on the other side of the fence from any authority and social standing. They sided with the most productive/professional family members regardless of whether they were abusers trying to hide there crimes within the mental health system or with the status game so many investigations based their feeble judgements on. The same game was played out within elite abuse and discrediting those abused in care. Far too many protected groups and defaming of survivors in Rotherham for example. Done by the authorities who claimed the survivors were bad themselves, setting them up in effect and smearing them for convenience. The groups handling CSA cases seem overwhelmingly to seek substantiating evidence of character from other professionals who were somehow on the same level no matter who they were or what they had to hide. Information sharing that wrote the epitaphs of many who died trying to escape the system. It nearly wrote mine while silencing my testimony…


  3. The way the authorities deliberately make a divide of them and us with anyone they wish to silence is truly abhorant and something that has to be witnessed to believed. The fact that so many were complicit within CSA cover up needs to be looked at in that light. It’s how so many used status, the police, the mental health system, social services etc seem to modify attitudes according to who they uphold, usually the most useful are protected by the state. Those who have work status regardless of whether or not they are abusers sometimes even handing an abused family member in to be dealt with. The obliging authorities so often smear and defame for convenience in processing to keep the status quo and to keep the mistakes and abuses within their care hidden. This can even write an epitaph of someone trying to deal with the system who has been silenced as the files convey a sense of being written in loving memory of someone who once had a voice. They information share among varying professional ranks with total acceptance of what’s been passed to them by an irreputable cog in the wheel because they feel all working within connected fields are unquestionable and equal,


  4. I agree that the culture of many institutions is not geared to being available as needed by those who have been abused. They will often suppress and in effect re-abuse those victims of abuse, which is a tragedy & nightmare for those involved.
    While the numbers of sex offences against children is now up to 113 a day, more of disturbing experiences are coming to light but the institutions are not able to handle them appropriately or effectively. Awareness of negative institutional cultures is increasing but changing it is a big job and needs to gain momentum.
    children http://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2016/03/09/reported-child-sex-offences-increase-by-a-third/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.