Historic abuse charity sees nine people a day in Dundee, Record Australian payout for abused British child migrants, Janner charged with historic child abuse
June 30, 2015 Comments Off on Historic abuse charity sees nine people a day in Dundee, Record Australian payout for abused British child migrants, Janner charged with historic child abuse
Historic abuse charity sees nine people a day in Dundee
By Lindsey Hamilton 26 Jun 2015
Nine Dundonians a day are coming forward with their own personal horror stories of historic abuse.
That figure adds up to 45 Dundee residents a week, or 2,250 people a year, who have experienced sexual, physical or mental abuse — according to a city charity.
And now Izzy’s Promise has revealed the extent of the problem in a bid to break down barriers and encourage others to speak out.
Joseph Lumbasi, manager of the charity that works to support victims of ritual and organised abuse, said that the figures were shocking and were getting worse.
He said: “There are major taboos that prevent people talking about abuse, but thanks to national cases, people are being encouraged to talk about what they have suffered.”
Izzy’s Promise recently took part in the Scottish Government’s statutory inquiry into historical child abuse in care.
Mr Lumbasi said: “We compiled our results and have forwarded them.
“What we are seeing in Dundee is frightening.” Mr Lumbasi says that three support workers at the charity’s premises on Victoria Road speak to around three people each every day who have turned to them for help.
He said: “We are seeing people from the age of 18 upwards who have horrific stories to tell of abuse as a child. This includes, mental, sexual and physical abuse.
“We are also aware of organised and ritual abuse taking place in Dundee….
Record Australian payout for abused British child migrants
Former British migrants who were physically and sexually assaulted at a notorious school in Australia on Monday won the largest compensation payment for survivors of mass child abuse in the country’s legal history.
A class action lawsuit was brought by almost 150 former residents of Fairbridge Farm School, which housed British child migrants, against the Australian and New South Wales state governments after they were abused between 1938 and 1974.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Roop Sandhu said the Aus$24 million (US$18.3 million) payout marked a major milestone in the acknowledgement of institutional child abuse.
“Our clients have suffered a lifetime of serious physical and psychiatric injuries as a result of their time at Fairbridge,” Sandhu said, adding that it was the largest settlement for survivors of mass child abuse ever in Australia.
“They were all vulnerable children in need of care and protection, but instead they were subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse, which in many cases has scarred them for life.”
The case was one of the first class actions against an Australian government connected with child migration — a practice under which thousands of underprivileged British children were sent to Australia without their parents last century in the hope of giving them a better life.
It alleged the Fairbridge Foundation, the New South Wales government and the Australian government allowed a system of institutional abuse to develop and persist at the school over decades….
Janner charged with historic child abuse
London (AFP) – Prosecutors on Monday brought 22 charges of abuse against an elderly politician accused of using his position to have sex with young boys.
The prosecution against Lord Greville Janner, a former MP and a member of the House of Lords, represents a victory for campaigners who have demanded tougher action on child abuse.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had initially declined to bring charges against the 86-year-old because he is suffering from Alzheimer’s and was considered too ill to stand trial.
But after intense criticism, director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders announced he has now been charged with offences against nine victims, all but one of them aged 16 or under at the time, relating to alleged incidents between 1963 and 1988.
Janner’s family strongly denies claims that he used his power as Labour MP for Leicester, a town that he represented between 1970 and 1997, to abuse vulnerable boys at a local children’s home.
Prosecutors said Janner would still likely be declared unfit and any trial would therefore not result in any conviction, but said bringing charges was a chance for the alleged victims to be heard in court….
Claims against Janner have fuelled speculation about an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster, which is being examined in a wide-ranging public inquiry into child abuse set up by Prime Minister David Cameron last year….
Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Investigation Uncovers Several Hundred Suspects And Several Thousand Leads
June 26, 2015 Comments Off on Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Investigation Uncovers Several Hundred Suspects And Several Thousand Leads
Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Investigation Uncovers Several Hundred Suspects And Several Thousand Leads
The Huffington Post UK By Steven Hopkins 24/06/2015
Hundreds of potential suspects have been identified in an investigation into child sex abuse in Rotherham, along with several thousand new lines of enquiry, police have said.
The National Crime Agency began an investigation in December last year following the Alexis Jay report that revealed there were 1400 victims of abuse in the town between 1997 and 2013. Police and other authorities knew about the abuse, but failed to act.
Police said Wednesday that “stage one” of their investigation had uncovered “a significant number of potential offenders. The current figure is in the low hundreds”….
Steve Baldwin, who is a Senior Investigating Officer involved in the operation, said police now had more than 3,300 lines of enquiry.
He said the abuse was “horrific” and the evidence police had gathered “details some very disturbing events”.
Police believe the 1,400 victims identified in the Alexis Jay report remains a “very good assessment” of the numbers of children abused during the time period….
Last month two new reports revealed that authorities in Rotherham had been warned about child sexual exploitation in 2003 – and given a list of the suspected main offenders – and told three years later that the problem was established and very serious, but had failed to investigate.
Dr Angie Heal provided a list of potential abusers as part of a report on the links between grooming and drug dealing in 2003 to police and council officials. That report and another from 2006 were released under the Freedom of Information Act to The Sheffield Star….
Last year, an inquiry found 1,400 children were abused by gangs of men, mainly of Pakistani origin, in South Yorkshire between 1997 and 2013.
The inquiry concluded: “It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered.”….
Prof Jay said: “They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.”….
June 25, 2015 Comments Off on Allegations fly at heated Westminster child abuse conference
Allegations fly at heated Westminster child abuse conference
By Felicity Capon 6/24/15
….Rumours have swirled in recent years about a cover-up in the British establishment involving senior politicians and police that has seen prominent figures engaging in child abuse and murder. Police have described evidence from one survivor relating to abuse at the Dolphin Square estate in London and at least three murders “credible and true”.
….Yesterday’s event, arranged by the WhiteFlowers group, was designed to keep up the pressure on home secretary Theresa May regarding the government-led inquiry, as well as stressing the need for solidarity among campaigners. The group is demanding full and equal legal representation for survivors, the amendment of the Official Secrets Act to ensure it does not cover historical allegations of child sex abuse, and greater measures to protect and support whistleblowers, as well as the prompt prosecution of Lord Greville Janner – the former Labour MP accused of being a serial abuser who the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders said was not fit to stand trial due to his suffering from dementia – and other high-profile figures suspected of paedophile activities or cover-ups.
The group has recently been vocal in challenging May’s decision to exclude representatives of victims’ groups from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which has been dogged by controversy after both Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf were forced to resign from chairing it due to their links to establishment figures.
….John Mann MP also spoke, demanding that the Official Secrets Act be lifted. “We will uncover, unmask and embarrass those who knew in detail about the abuse, who made calculated decisions that the state would cover up this abuse,” he said.
….One survivor who was placed in care in homes in Rotherham, Warrington, North Wales and Rochdale, told the audience in an earlier meeting that abuse had taken place in each home. “How was that possible?” he asked. “I would have had to have been the unluckiest kid on the planet for every place they put me in for abuse to happen. That could only have come about with planning.”
Richard Scorer, Head of the Abuse Team at Slater & Gordon law firm which represents a number of victims making allegations against Lord Janner, called for a change in the law which would enforce a legal duty on those working with children to report any knowledge or suspicion of child abuse. He also called for an overhaul of how the criminal justice system treats survivors, explaining that one of the firm’s clients, a victim of the Rochdale child sex abuse ring which came to light in 2008, was cross-examined for 42 days, often just a few feet away from the men who raped her.
The law firm will find out next week whether their request for a review of the decision of the director of public prosecutions not to charge Lord Janner has been successful. A decision not to prosecute the peer would “be a serious miscarriage of justice”, according to Scorer.
“For 25 years Janner was able to rely on networks of support to protect himself, some of which may have been operating from out of this building,” he said.
June 24, 2015 Comments Off on Satanic ritual details emerge in gruesome murder of Texas teen
Satanic ritual details emerge in gruesome murder of Texas teen
Published June 17, 2015
describes graphic crimes
A ghastly, demonic twist was added to one of the most grisly murder cases the Houston area has witnessed in recent memory.
Harris County prosecutors said earlier this week that the 2014 murder of Corriann Cervantes was being investigated as a satanic ritual killing after an upside cross was found carved on her abdomen. Other Satanic symbols were discovered scrawled on the wall of the vacant apartment where she was killed, they said.
The new details were released as part of the ongoing capital murder trial of Victor Alas, who allegedly helped stab, beat and strangle Cervantes because he was afraid she would testify against him in his pending criminal cases….
During Reyes’ trial, the prosecution read letters to the court that Reyes wrote while imprisoned in which he said the Devil was watching him and directing him to act during the brutal murder.
“He was standing there, watching me and Victor,” the teen wrote in a letter read to jurors in that case. “It’s all good. It’s what the Devil asked for.”….
2nd Houston-area teen convicted in occult killing, Ex-MP Harvey Proctor questioned in child abuse inquiry, Jehovah’s Witnesses to compensate woman over sex abuse
June 20, 2015 Comments Off on 2nd Houston-area teen convicted in occult killing, Ex-MP Harvey Proctor questioned in child abuse inquiry, Jehovah’s Witnesses to compensate woman over sex abuse
– 2nd Houston-area teen convicted in occult killing
” A Harris County jury has convicted a second Houston-area teenager of murder in the death of a girl who prosecutors say was killed as part of a satanic ritual.”
– Ex-MP Harvey Proctor questioned in child abuse inquiry
“The alleged victim has told the BBC he was abused by senior political, military and “law enforcement” figures, and has also said children were abused at Army facilities in southern England.
– Jehovah’s Witnesses to compensate woman over sex abuse
“A woman who claimed Jehovah’s Witness elders failed to protect her from sex abuse carried out by a paedophile has won a £275,000 payout.”
2nd Houston-area teen convicted in occult killing
Friday, June 19, 2015
HOUSTON (AP) — A Harris County jury has convicted a second Houston-area teenager of murder in the death of a girl who prosecutors say was killed as part of a satanic ritual.
Jurors on Friday found 17-year-old Victor Alas guilty in the February 2014 death of 15-year-old Corriann Cervantes at a vacant apartment southeast of Houston. The conviction carries an automatic life sentence.
Authorities investigated the case as a satanic ritual killing because a cross was carved into Cervantes’ abdomen and because of objects found at the scene.
Alas’ attorneys say they couldn’t overcome a videotaped confession he gave to police.
Jose Reyes, then 17, also was convicted and received a life sentence last December. Authorities have said the pair hoped to make a deal with the devil by killing Cervantes.
Ex-MP Harvey Proctor questioned in child abuse inquiry
19 June 2015
A former MP has been questioned by police investigating historical allegations of child abuse and murder.
Harvey Proctor, Conservative MP for Billericay until 1987, was interviewed under caution but was not arrested.
Police are investigating claims that a group of prominent men in public life sexually and physically abused children in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Mr Proctor, who has denied any part in abuse, said the interview on Thursday took place at his request….
The investigation began after a man in his 40s made a series of allegations last year.
The alleged victim has told the BBC he was abused by senior political, military and “law enforcement” figures, and has also said children were abused at Army facilities in southern England.
It is claimed that three children were murdered at different London locations.
In March, Mr Proctor denied any involvement in child abuse – some of which is alleged to have taken place at the Dolphin Square apartment complex in Pimlico, London.
He said: “I have never attended sex parties at Dolphin Square or anywhere else.
“I have not been part of any rent boy ring with cabinet ministers, other members of Parliament or generals or the military….
Harvey Proctor was born in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, and served as a Conservative MP from 1979 to 1987, representing the Essex constituencies of Basildon and then Billericay.
In 1987, he was fined after pleading guilty to gross indecency over sexual activity with men under the age of 21 – then the legal age of consent for gay men.
He said he believed the men were above the age of consent. The men were above the current age of consent, which is 16….
Jehovah’s Witnesses to compensate woman over sex abuse
19 June 2015
A woman who claimed Jehovah’s Witness elders failed to protect her from sex abuse carried out by a paedophile has won a £275,000 payout.
The woman, now in her 20s, alleges she was abused as a child in Loughborough by ministerial servant Peter Stewart.
She had argued at London’s High Court that he used his role to abuse her.
A judge ruled the organisation was liable for the abuse because it failed to take “safeguarding steps” after Stewart admitted abusing another child.
Mr Justice Globe said he was “satisfied” the defendants should be “held responsible” for the abuse, which took place between 1989 and 1994.
It is the first civil case in the UK of historical sexual abuse brought against the Christian-based religious movement.
The organisation – which accepted that Stewart, who died before facing justice, sexually abused the claimant – said it was “disappointed” with the decision and would appeal….
The woman, known only as C during the case, says she was abused by Stewart between the ages of four and nine.
At the time he was a trusted ministerial servant, whose role was to assist elders with religious and administrative duties.
Shortly after C’s abuse began, Stewart was found to have abused another child in the Jehovah’s Witness community.
He was removed as a ministerial servant in 1990 but because he told elders he had repented, he was allowed to continue with many of the activities he had performed in that role.
C alleges he continued to abuse her for another four years….
In 1995, Stewart was convicted of separate child sex offences, including rape and indecent assault, and jailed for five years.
He died, aged 72, in 2001, shortly before police arrived at his home to arrest him for sexually abusing C.
The court had heard C had “suffered hugely” as a result of the abuse, which had affected her education, career and relationships….
The damages and an interim payment of £455,000 towards C’s legal costs will be met by the society’s trustees. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33201010
Supreme Court allows children’s indirect testimony in child abuse cases, Unofficial Secrets – Child Sexual Abuse: the Cleveland Case
June 19, 2015 Comments Off on Supreme Court allows children’s indirect testimony in child abuse cases, Unofficial Secrets – Child Sexual Abuse: the Cleveland Case
Unofficial Secrets – Child Sexual Abuse: the Cleveland Case
“Just as there was a determined not-knowing in 1987, there was equal resistance to any attempt to follow up those 121 children, and reluctance to co-ordinate referrals. Some children did return to the attention of the statutory services. Some children did go on enduring abuse by adults who – having been acquitted by the public debate – had permission to carry on.”
Supreme Court allows children’s indirect testimony in child abuse cases
Richard Wolf and Brad Heath, USA TODAY June 18, 2015
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that teachers’ reports of child abuse based on conversations with young children can be admitted as testimony, despite a defendant’s constitutional right to confront his accuser.
The unanimous judgment came in the case of a 3½-year-old Ohio boy whose wounds were visible to teachers at his day care center. Upon questioning, he said his mother’s boyfriend was to blame.
Although the boy was too young to testify reliably in court, the teachers’ reports were admitted at trial, resulting in Darius Clark’s conviction and 28-year prison sentence….
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court’s majority, said that the teachers’ “primary purpose” in asking about the abuse was not to help the prosecution, so allowing their testimony did not violate Clark’s constitutional rights.
When police take children’s statements out of court and present it as testimony at trial, it can violate the confrontation clause. But in this case, Alito said, the child spoke to teachers immediately after his wounds were discovered, in an emergency setting on school grounds — not in preparing courtroom testimony….
For a Day in July 2014…
FOR A DAY in July 2014, the advocates of children in care institutions who have been sexually abused by adults — including suspects shielded from scrutiny by the Establishment — tasted triumph: their campaign for an inquiry into historic abuse and cover-up had finally been rewarded, there was to be a public inquiry….
A new e-edition of my book, Unofficial Secrets – Child Sexual Abuse: the Cleveland Case, is forthcoming.
Meanwhile, here is an extract from the 1997 edition:
….The Cleveland case challenged our world view about sex. It also became a crisis of knowing, of what is known and how it may become knowable. As the months and then the years went by, we were not allowed to know what had happened in Cleveland.
Just as there was a determined not-knowing in 1987, there was equal resistance to any attempt to follow up those 121 children, and reluctance to co-ordinate referrals. Some children did return to the attention of the statutory services. Some children did go on enduring abuse by adults who – having been acquitted by the public debate – had permission to carry on.
….For example, the first edition of this book contains an interview with a man and a woman whose children all showed worrying symptoms. The father was already a convicted sex offender. He was candid: yes, he had ‘previous’; yes, he’d confessed and then retracted. His explanation for anal and vaginal medical signs? He didn’t have one. I didn’t believe his protestations, but I faithfully reported his story. And I didn’t ask why his career as a sex offender and his absurd alibis weren’t relevant.
If this case was deemed controversial, it was not because a convicted sex offender was given custody of his children. It was because Dr. Marietta Higgs’ diagnosis had ignited an investigation. If this case was controversial, it was not because the convicted sex offender made a confession — like his previous record, that didn’t matter.
….That the signs scrolled on the bodies of children suggested serious sexual abuse. They also knew that, if the children had indeed been abused, then the signs were telling us something more – that the children were so marooned in their abusers’ needs and pressure and point of view that silence was itself a survival strategy. A tactic of accommodation was revealed by the signs: the architecture of the body suggested the anatomy of adaptation, of small bodies adapting to overwhelming intrusion, orifices scarred and altered by incoming objects, orifices speaking into the silence of their young subjects.
Not all the children were silent. Some spoke loudly and clearly. Some spoke obliquely and hesitantly. But the adult community chose to interpret the silence — rather than the signs — as the relief of suspicion, rather than as a clue to the difficulty of disclosure. Instead of interpreting the matrix of signs and silence as a dynamic, as a drama of physical suffering and survival shrouded by secrecy, it chose an interpretation of this eerie scenario that reinstated the ideologies and institutions that were so stiffly challenged by these children.
Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?, The Rochdale and Nottingham cases have revealed widespread sexual abuse of children based on satanic practices. Yet the children are still not believed.
June 18, 2015 Comments Off on Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?, The Rochdale and Nottingham cases have revealed widespread sexual abuse of children based on satanic practices. Yet the children are still not believed.
– Seen But Not Heard
The Rochdale and Nottingham cases have revealed widespread sexual abuse of children based on satanic practices. Yet the children are still not believed.
– Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?
“There was indeed a cultural revolution during the 1980s: it was not triggered by trans-Atlantic folly but the bodies of children. For a dozen years, Britain had been scalded by about 30 deaths of children due to abuse, and by the evidence of official inquiries. Unnoticed in life, in death they became household names. The pivotal cases for social work in the 1980s were Tyra Henry, Kimberley Carlisle and Jasmine Beckford. These children’s fate alerted health and welfare professionals to what became known as ‘child abuse’. ”
“The mid-80s, then, was the time when British institutions were forced to pay attention to the oppression of children in a new way. Priests and pagans, teachers, pop stars politicians and parents were sexually abusing children then as now, and weren’t properly investigated.”
– Analysing Aaronovitch: a sceptical narrative
“I made a documentary about the Nottingham case in 1990. This is the Nottingham timeline: in 1987 children were received into care from an extended family with a long history of inter-generational sexual abuse, including criminal convictions.”
Analysing Aaronovitch: a sceptical narrative
Beatrix Campbell 17 June 2015
Prosecution and conviction rates for sexual crime are lamentably low in the UK. If David Aaronovitch cares about ‘genuine abuse’, why isn’t this what worries him more? Part Two.
The first tests of the new era were in the northern county of Cleveland, (my book on this case, Unofficial Secrets, is being updated for electronic publication this year), and in Nottingham. They combusted over medical signs in Cleveland, and children’s stories of abuse in Nottingham. Actually, these crises were triggered by police resistance to the medical signs and stories, and their reluctance to investigate them….
I made a documentary about the Nottingham case in 1990. This is the Nottingham timeline: in 1987 children were received into care from an extended family with a long history of inter-generational sexual abuse, including criminal convictions. Once safe, these children began talking to their new foster carers about their lives, their parents’ sexual abuse, witch parties and their worries about other children. Their evidence, and the testimony of foster parents and social workers was heard in wardship court proceedings in 1988.
Mrs Justice Booth, in her judgement, described the culture of the abuse as ‘satanic’ – her word. In July 1988 three Appeal Court judges endorsed that conclusion and Sir Stephen Brown, in an unusual public judgement, reported in the press on 19 July 1988, said that children ‘had been subjected to gross sexual abuse at the hands of adults, sometimes at parties, where full intercourse had taken place in the presence of a number of adults and other children’….
In 1989 ten adults were convicted on the basis of evidence that children were being ‘sadistically abused and tortured and being forced to watch other children suffering in a similar way.’ They were forced to eat excrement and drink urine, watch other children forced into sexual intercourse ‘over a prolonged period and in an organised manner’. These words are taken from the Director of Social Services report on the case – and the controversy – to Nottinghamshire County Council on 7 November 1990.
It wasn’t social workers or foster carers who decided that there was ‘satanic’ abuse, it was the judges in 1988….
The Director’s report followed my Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on the Nottingham case in October 1990; it scrutinised the JET report and interviewed the academic John Newson who gave JET its line on fantasy, confabulation, and staff brainwashing children. However, when I asked whether he had actually talked to the foster carers or social workers, he admitted that he had not. Unlike Aaronovitch, Waterhouse or Nathan, my documentary interviewed social workers, and foster carers. I also interviewed adults in the family who had been convicted and who corroborated the children’s evidence.
The 7 November 1990 report by the Director of Social Services was the last official word: it rejected the JET report and explained the social workers view of the abuse the children had endured: ’we cannot say’ whether ritual events were ‘true’ or whether children ‘were deliberately misled into believing they had happened’. The Director agreed with the workers directly involved that ‘the significance of ritual overtones is not necessarily linked to a belief system but that it provided a mechanism for manipulating vulnerable children.’ His report accepted the social workers’ definition of ritual abuse as activities and symbols ‘used to frighten, intimidate and confuse the children.’….
There are corroborated cases. More recently clinicians, most famously Bessel van der Kolk in the US, have studied the neurology of trauma and amnesia among survivors of sexual abuse. The eminent Harvard therapist Judith Lewis Herman writes, ‘On the one hand, traumatised people remember too much; on the other hand, they remember too little.’ For Herman, ‘The conflict between knowing and not knowing, speech and silence, remembering and forgetting, is the central dialectic of psychological trauma’….
Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?
Beatrix Campbell 17 June 2015
David Aaronovitch claims ‘unbelievable’ notions about child abuse that ‘bewitched’ professionals decades ago are echoed in the VIP historic abuse cases. Where is his evidence? Part One.
….So let’s consider his argument:
At the end of the 1980s ‘unbelievable’ theories that had been accorded respectability within professional and clinical circles wafted across the Atlantic, ‘the occult flame was kept alight beyond the shores of America,’ he told listeners; then professionals (doing what they do) read books and went to conferences. Ideas were planted in ‘surprisingly fertile soil,’ in that ‘hothouse for new intellectual plants’ none other than ‘the professional conference.’
They were possessed. They saw the movie Sybil, they read ‘Michelle Remembers’. Who knows, like millions of others, they might have seen Rosemary’s Baby or The Exorcist.
We don’t know which, if any professionals were possessed by these texts: Nor does Aaronovitch. But that doesn’t matter. I know many practitioners, from police officers to foster carers, doctors and social workers involved in many of the celebrated and contested child abuse cases of the past quarter century, including those singled out by Aaronovitch, and I’m not aware that any had any of this stuff in their heads. I’ve consulted other journalists, and they’re not either.
Isn’t reading books and going to conferences part of what professionals and experts do? Learn? Share ideas? Aaronovitch traduces normal and necessary activities as sinister. One of Aaronovitch’s witnesses, the journalist Rosie Waterhouse, mapped ‘the progress of an idea’: UK and US professionals, especially Californians, were crossing the Atlantic and conferring; her nugget: ’the conference circuit.’
After a conference at Reading in 1989, she said, the witch hunt broke out in Britain. Waterhouse is wrong.
There was indeed a cultural revolution during the 1980s: it was not triggered by trans-Atlantic folly but the bodies of children. For a dozen years, Britain had been scalded by about 30 deaths of children due to abuse, and by the evidence of official inquiries. Unnoticed in life, in death they became household names. The pivotal cases for social work in the 1980s were Tyra Henry, Kimberley Carlisle and Jasmine Beckford. These children’s fate alerted health and welfare professionals to what became known as ‘child abuse’. There was public and professional outrage, workers were castigated for a perceived failure to intervene and – most specifically with Jasmine Beckford in 1985 – to heed the child and what she might have to say about her family life. In the mid-80s sexual abuse emerged as a category of concern.
In the second half of the decade, local authority staff had an unequivocal statutory duty to investigate when they had ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a child was being abused. The law states – then and now – not that they ‘may’ but that they ‘shall’ intervene. It was and is their statutory duty.
That, not Californian phantoms, was the context in which professionals were mandated to act….
The mid-80s, then, was the time when British institutions were forced to pay attention to the oppression of children in a new way. Priests and pagans, teachers, pop stars politicians and parents were sexually abusing children then as now, and weren’t properly investigated.
However, what provoked controversy and crisis then was not only what we were learning about childhood adversity, but whether the professions, particularly the police, and our political culture could stand it, respond appropriately, and withstand the inevitable reaction.
There was no great wave of state piracy, social workers kidnapping kids; and despite the new knowledge and the legal duties of professionals, there was resistance to evidence that became entrenched. The implications were woeful. According to Susan Creighton, an expert on recorded abuse, statistics on the numbers of children registered as being at risk of harm (including sexual abuse) rose most significantly between 1985 and 1986, reaching a peak of 0.65 children per 1000 in 1987, and declining thereafter.
Though changes in registration criteria after 1990 make direct comparisons difficult, sexual abuse registrations fell dramatically up to 2002, and settled at a relatively low level between 2002 and 2014. There was no panic or hysteria, no wave of children being removed either rightly or wrongly from their parents.
Seen But Not Heard
The Rochdale and Nottingham cases have revealed widespread sexual abuse of children based on satanic practices. Yet the children are still not believed. Beatrix Campbell, presenter of the recent Dispatches programme on the Nottingham case, explains why
30% rise in first-time callers to Rape Crisis Centre
Wednesday 17 June 2015
There was a 30% increase in the number of first time callers to the Rape Crisis Centre’s National 24-Hour Helpline last year.
The Centre’s annual report for 2014 also shows an increase of 14% in calls relating to adult rape.
Almost half of all calls related to childhood sexual abuse, including ritual abuse and suspected abuse….