As a survivor of childhood sex abuse it breaks my heart to know that every single day the most vulnerable children nationwide, those in state care, are being abused.
This is a replacement report from Channel 4 News. The original video containing a BBC News report on the pulped Jillings Report was removed from Youtube
Bryn Estyn, Rochdale and Oxford are the tip of this particularly chilling iceberg but there appears to be no political will to investigate beyond the surface. In the Oxford case, children in state care who were abused repeatedly reported the crimes of rape and torture being committed against them to social workers and the police – their pleas for help were ignored for SIX years.
Video © BBC
Chief Constable Sara Thornton of the Thames Valley Police expressed her “regrets” that the police’s failure to investigate these children’s accusations meant that their abuse was allowed to continue and the list of their abusers allowed to grow. However when asked if she would be resigning she told the BBC “I think the focus for me is on driving improvements into the future.”
Video © BBC
Similarly, Joanna Simons, chief executive of Oxfordshire County Council since 2005, will not be stepping down from her £217,640 a year position although I am sure that the child victims of the Oxford paedophile ring will be thankful to know that Miss Simons has asked herself some “very hard questions”.
“My gut feeling is that I’m not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out,” she told the BBC.
Many sensible readers might think that the first step to take in doing “all that we can” would be to get rid of the people who so clearly failed to protect the children in their care in the first place. Yes! I’ mean YOU Miss Simons and YOU Ms. Thornton.
The sad and despicable truth is that it is barely two months since the Oxford case was decided in court and the country has already moved on. Miss Simons and Ms Thornton are happily raking in sizeable sums from the taxpayer and their failings are becoming distant hollow memories for everyone apart from the victims.
For those raised in the ‘care’ of the UK state, the extent of the abuse, the number of paedophiles involved and the casual dismissal of the children’s cries for help to the authorities in Oxford, Bryn Estyn and Rochdale is not a surprise. The surprising thing about these cases is the authorities blindness to the reality that organised abuse was always and continues to be a nationwide phenomenon.
This government feigns concern about paedophile rings that prey most often on children that are being cared for by the state but actions speak louder than words. Despite the obvious public concern since the extent of Jimmy Savile’s criminal abuse was exposed and the multiplicity of individual celebrities and groups of abusers arrested, imprisoned and highlighted in the media Theresa May has fought off any suggestion that a full public inquiry ought to be held.
How important can this issue really be to the Home Secretary if, against expert advice, she plans to leave Europol which counts among its successes ‘Operation Rescue’ which led to the identification of the world’s largest online child sex abuse network with over 240 suspects and 60 victims? We are already relying on the work of the charitably funded Internet Watch Foundation, which itself relies for the funding of its paltry 5 analysts on the meagre donations it receives from the likes of the online child abuse enabling and tax dodging Google, to take down reported images of abuse. But the IWF is swamped by the 40,000 reports of online child abuse images it receives each year. Does cutting the budget of the already woefully resourced Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), an agency that itself identified 50,000 cases of UK citizens accessing online images of child abuse but due to lack of resources could only investigate 2,000 and prosecute less than 200, show that Teresa May really believes these abuse cases to be “dreadful” and ” hugely shocking”?
This morning, David Cameron told Andrew Marr that he thinks that online images of abuse should be stopped and access via search engines banned. In a speech to be given tomorrow he says
“There are some searches which are so abhorrent and where there can be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher.”
Images of child sex abuse are historical records of crimes and crime scenes. They are the sorts of images that were taken of the children in state care in Bryn Estyn and Rochdale and Oxford and countless others across the country. If David Cameron and Theresa May want to show that their headline grabbing statements are more than mollifying words to be followed by inaction then they should do their jobs and find out why the tens of thousands of children who are raised in the government’s institutions have been suffering from sustained and often organised abuse, identify and prosecute the perpetrators and make changes to the system so that future cases may be, as far as possible, prevented.
I don’t claim to speak for any victims or survivors other than myself but I believe that the only way to obtain justice for the victims and protect our children in the future is to hold a judge led, independent, public inquiry. If you, the reader, are concerned about the suffering of the most vulnerable of our children that are supposed to be protected by the state so should you.
NSPCC http://www.nspcc.org.uk/ Tel: 0808 800 5000
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) http://www.ceop.police.uk/ Telephone: +44 (0)870 000 3344 or 999 in an emergency
*There is help available for adult survivors of childhood abuse online however I am not in a position to highlight any individual organisation
About the Jillings Report:
Published on 8 Jul 2013
A report written 17 years ago, has finally been published, identifying long-term “extensive” abuse at children’s homes in north Wales during the 1970s through to the 1990s.
Abuse allegations at several children’s homes, including the former Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham, emerged in the 1990s. An inquiry by John Jillings was carried out in 1996 but shelved due to fears there would be compensation claims.
The 300-page report was initially written in 1996 after it was commissioned by the former Clwyd County Council, which covered the areas now represented by Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham councils.
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