My apologies for not posting about this story in The Independent on Sunday at the time.
It covers two important areas. There are actually more than two big stories here but I’ve got to be mindful of ‘fair usage’ and I’m quoting a great deal already. [follow the links and read the full story]
The first is the news that at least one victim intends to sue the government as he believes that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for home life has been breached because of his treatment since being approached at the beginning of 2013. This follows an intervention earlier in the year by Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the CPS, who said:
“The principles and practices that underpin our justice system were developed long ago. There are good reasons for protecting those suspected of or charged with criminal offences – the answer to the current conundrum is not the conviction of innocent individuals. But our justice infrastructure was set in stone before the words “victims’ rights” were ever uttered, and long before they were given real meaning by legislation such as the Human Rights Act. (Indeed, it is a sad irony, unmentioned by those who advocate the repeal of this act that those with the most to lose are victims.)”
After such an intervention such legal action seemed inevitable
The victim told The Independent on Sunday: “I intend to sue the Government for breach of its human rights obligations, and I know of at least one other victim doing the same. The impact of the police enquiries three decades later was horrific. It instantly took me to my emotional state at the time of the abuse.
“I had built a safe world, and instantly all safety was gone, replaced by fear, anxiety and depression. Despite the best efforts of the police officers, there is nowhere to get any help – and it is no one’s job to provide it – and there certainly isn’t any money to make it happen.
“Well over a year later, help is no nearer, my world is horrific. The legal issues continue, and my life will never be the same. I am lucky enough to be single – if I had a family, or kids, I would never be able to testify – the pain is just so great and it reaches everyone around you.
“I just hope I get some meaningful help so that I might be able to enjoy the last part of my life. People choose not to come forward because of the impact. I had no choice – my safe world was ruined by that knock on the door! I’m sure dozens of people, hundreds, even, would come forward if they felt there was more trauma counselling available.
“If the politicians really want to get to the bottom of this, it’s a ludicrous false economy not to spend the money on counselling. The only people it serves are the guilty.”
The second part of the story makes a powerful case for the inclusion of Jersey in the independent overarching inquiry into historical child abuse. It reveals two important cases that directly link mainland UK care homes and Haut de la Garenne.
David Cameron has said that he will “leave no stone unturned” and thanks to Dr Liz Davies and John Hemming MP it must seem clear that Haut de la Garenne is one big stone that the new inquiry must turn over.
Campaigners have continued to express concern about the government’s investigation into child abuse, announced last week. Yesterday it emerged that Baroness Butler-Sloss, who is leading it, kept allegations about a bishop out of a report on child abuse because she “cared about the church”. Campaigners also want Jersey, a Crown dependency, to be part of the investigation. The Channel Island has been the subject of many allegations over children in care at the Haut de la Garenne home, and in 2008 it emerged that at least five children were illegally placed in care in Jersey by Birmingham social services. “Given that children were trafficked from the Midlands to Jersey for sex abuse, you would think it was a bit odd to omit Jersey from the inquiry,” Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said yesterday.
Dr Liz Davies, a campaigner on child abuse, agreed. “Nicholas Rabet, former deputy superintendent of Islington’s home at Grosvenor Avenue, was charged in Thailand in 2006 with abusing 30 local boys, and we know that he had links with Jersey,” she said. “I have seen evidence from a child who was sent to Jersey in the summer holidays from the Grosvenor Avenue home. I have also spoken to survivors from Jersey who went to an Islington children’s home for a holiday. In Jersey they were abused on yachts, in the big mansions there and in the opera house. The opera house is where British celebrities came. They mentioned Jimmy Savile and Wilfrid Brambell. It would be absurd not to include Jersey.”