Here is the full press release. I’ll comment below.
The Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC supports the Survivors’ two grounds of judicial review. Firstly, that the Survivors of Sexual Abuse are excluded from membership of the Inquiry panel because of a claim that they will lack the necessary objectivity. It should be noted that this bar to membership of the panel in fact only targets Survivors who have disclosed their abuse; this of course serves only to punish and stigmatise Survivors.
Secondly, that the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) involvement is so limited as to be meaningless. The VSCP was said to have been created to allow Survivors to participate at the centre of this Inquiry. Instead the VSCP will meet with the Inquiry team on two days per month and not have access to the Inquiry papers. Each of these decisions sidelines the participation of the Survivors. As Michael Mansfield QC has said:
” The process has been marred by a Government which has tried relentlessly to manipulate the appointments, remit and terms and conditions of any Inquiry. The only way forward is to ensure a collective approach by survivors standing firm and together on clear objectives.”
Notes to editors:
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was announced by the Home Secretary on the 12th of March 2015
The Hon Justice Goddard DNZM has been appointed to Chair the Inquiry; in her letter posted on the 12th of March she stated that “the appointment of victims or survivors to the panel will not, in my view, be consistent with the objectivity, independence and impartiality that is required of members of an independent panel”
On the 9th of April the Inquiry team announced that the VSCP would be limited to two days per month and stated, to Survivors, that members of the VSCP would not be provided with Inquiry papers.
Firstly, do I think he can win ?
In my view yes, on grounds of discrimination however this second part “The VSCP was said to have been created to allow Survivors to participate at the centre of this Inquiry.” is incorrect the correct phrase used as I understand it was that “the experience of Survivors” should be at the centre of the Inquiry. It is a small difference but it invalidates the second argument.
To be frank, the VSCP was always going to be limited and meaningless as far as the oversight and direction of the Inquiry was concerned but important as far as ensuring survivors who participate get proper support and an essential way of getting the large survivor charities ‘on board’, and through them survivors.
The entire point was to restrict the access to the confidential and highly classified documentation and keep it in safe hands.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the skill set that is obviously lacking from the current CSA Inquiry panel is held by professional, experienced, and independent investigators (retired police officers or journalists) regardless of whether the investigator is a survivor or not.