cathy fox Beecholme – Wandsworth Council wrong to say they had no Child Abuse Reports

Beecholme – Wandsworth Council wrong to say they had no Child Abuse Reports

I blog this as it is important information, before the meeting that Beecholme Survivors have with Wandsworth Council on tomorrow evening 6th December.

Contact Beecholme Survivors beecholmesurvivorsandjustices@gmail.com or twitter  @beecholme12

 

Way back on  Aug 3 I asked Wandsworth Council

Please could you tell me the titles, dates and authors of any reports you hold on Beechholme House Childrens home
This would include
Any reports commissioned or held on child abuse at beecholme
Any inspection reports held, authored by SSI or equivalent London County Council
Any reports about Beecholme other purposes to the social services committee or equivalent
Any Annual Reports

Possible search terms are both spellings -Beechholme, Beecholme,
Beechholme Fir Tree Road, Banstead, Surrey
Beechholme Childrens Community
Beechholme Childrens Home
Geoffrey Banner
Cedar House, Jasmine House

They replied [2]

This information is not held by Wandsworth Council. The information may be
available from the London Metropolitan Archives [4] 

It needs someone local to check at the archives  [4] to see what is archived there, but it was barely conceivable to me that Wandsworth did not hold anything. I therefore asked for an internal review of the decision.

I am writing to request an internal review of Wandsworth Borough Council’s handling of my FOI request ‘Beechholme House Childrens Home’. It is scarcely believable that you have no records of any child abuse report titles. If so then it would appear that the Council is negligent, Please internally review my request.

The Council took 6 weeks to reply, longer than the allowed 4 weeks by law, but at least they apologised for the delay and adnitted the original decision was wrong ie they did hold information.  2017 Dec 5 FOI Internal Review Reply [5]

They previously either were incompetent or deliberately lied. What other information are they hiding? I would suggest that Beecholme Survivors ask for the information to be given to them (ie not under FOI.)

I have conducted a detailed review of Wandsworth Council’s response having regard to the specific requirements of the FOI Act. I am writing to advise you that the Council does hold the information requested in the form of a report relating to the non-recent abuse at Beecholme Care Home. However, having regard to the current situation regarding Beecholme, my decision is that the report is exempt under section 31 of the FOI Act. Section 31 expressly provides that information will be exempt from disclosure in a number of cases relating to law enforcement. In this case, having reviewed the current situation in respect of Beecholme Care Home, my decision is that the following three aspects of section 31 all apply:

Law enforcement – Section 31 Freedom of Information Act

E+W+S+N.I.

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—

(a) The prevention or detection of crime,

(b) The apprehension or prosecution of offenders,

(c) The administration of justice,

Therefore, the outcome of my internal review is that the initial decision reached by the Council in its consideration of the FOI request was incorrect. This is on the basis that through the internal review process I undertook, it has transpired that the Council does hold the information requested. However, having carefully considered the circumstances surrounding Beecholme Care Home, my decision is that the information cannot be released because it is expressly exempt under section 31 of the FOI Act (that it would, or would be likely to, prejudice law enforcement).

Having established that the exemption at section 31 applies, I have undertaken a further test to determine whether or not the prejudice or harm specified in the exemption would, or would be likely to, occur. In undertaking this further test, I have based my approach on that adopted by the the Information Tribunal inChristopher Martin Hogan and Oxford City Council v the Information Commissioner (EA/2005/0026 and 0030, 17 October 2006) (“Hogan”), at paragraphs 28-34. I have therefore taken the following steps, specifically to:

  1. Identify the “applicable interests” within the relevant exemption. The applicable interests are those relating to the prevention or detection of crime; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders; and the administration of justice.
  2. Show that the prejudice claimed is “real, actual or of substance”. Given the seriousness of the matters in question, there can be no doubt that the prejudice fits the definition of being “real, actual or of substance”.
  3. Show that there is a “causal link” between the disclosure and the prejudice claimed. Given the non-recent nature of the matters in question, any disclosure of information would be likely to cause anyone who had in any way been involved in the matters, to be forewarned of any matters under consideration.

If you can, please spread my posts on various social media that you use, this is a means by which everyone can bring attention to child sexual abuse – thankyou.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]
  • Fresh Start Foundation Scottish not for profit group, helping child sexual abuse victims & survivors  [P]

Links

[1] 2017 Aug 3 Cathy Fox FOI https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/beechholme_house_childrens_home#outgoing-674764

[2] 2017 Aug 31 FOi Reply https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/beechholme_house_childrens_home#incoming-1030067

[3] 2017 Oct 20  FOI Internal Review Request https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/beechholme_house_childrens_home#outgoing-700080

[4] London Met Archives https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/default.aspx

[5] 2017 Dec 5 FOI Internal Review Reply https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/beechholme_house_childrens_home#outgoing-700080

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free…

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4 Responses to Beecholme – Wandsworth Council wrong to say they had no Child Abuse Reports

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