Abuse Victims To Give Inquiry More Time

Child sex abuse survivors say they have new hope after being given indications they could get to approve the chair of the inquiry.
22:28, UK, Friday 05 December 2014

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Video: New Hope For Child Abuse Probe

Victims of alleged historical sex abuse say they are willing to give the Government more time to establish an inquiry amid fresh hopes they will get to choose who will head up the process.

Despite concerns the inquiry could collapse, some survivors emerging from the meeting told Sky they still had faith in the Home Office.
“It looks to be moving on the right lines,” said campaigner Alan Draper.
He said it looked as if “some form of statutory inquiry” now appeared likely – one of the victims’ key demands.
Sky News Political Correspondent Jason Farrell said they were now more confident they would get to choose who would chair the country’s biggest ever abuse probe.

Play video “Abuse Survivor Slams Govt Inquiry”


Video: Abuse Survivor Slams Govt Inquiry

Two previous chairs were forced to stand down because of links to prominent figures who could form part of the inquiry.
The investigation aims to get to the bottom of claims that Government and establishment figures covered up paedophiles in their ranks between the 1970s and 1990s.
On Thursday, the process seemed in danger after Sky learned that 24 individuals had signed a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May saying they had lost confidence and were withdrawing their cooperation.
On Friday, a further four people added their names to the letter.
Sky also learned that one victim has claimed an inquiry panel member sent them a threatening message.
However, despite these concerns, another meeting has been arranged for January where campaigners expect a concrete proposal from the Home Office.
“There are still some people who refuse to go to this meeting and are still very much disillusioned with the whole process,” said Farrell.

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Video: Abuse Victim Andy Kershaw

“But I think there are enough people who are willing to give the Home Office just a little bit more time and hear what they have to say.”
However, Scottish victims were angry to hear their cases would not form part of the inquiry.
“We’re going to be short-changed yet again,” said abuse survivor Andi Lavery.
They will now ask the Scottish Parliament for a separate inquiry.
The letter to the Home Office had stated three reasons for victims withdrawing their cooperation.
First, the signatories said the terms of reference of the inquiry would not be wide enough to properly deliver on its aims.
Second, they said that while two successive heads of the inquiry have stood down, there were other conflicts of interest among members of the panel.

Third, they said the investigation should look further back than 1970 – going back to 1945.
The letter stated: “As survivors and associated professionals, we were very much hoping to take up the invitations to engage with your Ministerial Officers to discuss the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry, but we regret to say we have to decline.
“We, alongside many survivors, have made numerous representations to you regarding our view that the inquiry as it stands is not fit for purpose.”
Mrs May told Sky News she was aware of the letter and re-iterated that failings of parts of Government and institutions must be investigated.
The inquiry has suffered a series of setbacks and controversies in recent months.
The first chair of the inquiry, Lady Butler-Sloss, was forced to step down because her late brother, Lord Havers, was attorney general during much of the period under review.
City lawyer Fiona Woolf was then appointed in September to chair the panel.

But she soon faced criticism over her social links to former Home Secretary Lord Brittan and his wife.
Victims have suggested three possible candidates to take over: Court of Appeal judge Lady Justice Hallett, top barrister Michael Mansfield QC, and deputy head of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale.

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