Sunday, 4 November 2012

Public Enquiry for North West Abuse

The Savile case has highlighted the abuse agenda again, and given a voice to the oppressed from the past like Steve Meecham who was abused at Bryn Estyn, and was part of the North Wales Enquiry.  At the time I remember the North Wales support group complaining bitterly that the Tribunal had been a whitewash. Sadly the detail  was never properly explained to me. With the recent revelation of Tory aides being involved and paedophile rings taking children out of the home to service local others, I now understand exactly what they were getting at.

I was asking the then Labour Government for a public enquiry in around 1998 into abuse in the North West Homes that I was dealing with. The links between different homes, and abusers was too coincidental to believe that there was not some sort of ring involved.

The police at the time did not want to be forced  into prosecuting conspiracies because they are so difficult to prove. It was far easier for them to remain tasked with charging individual abusers.

Ironically only 40 homes were involved in the North Wales investigation, whereas in Merseyside as many as 88 homes came under investigation, 66 in Greater Manchester and so on. At one time in the late 1990's 41 out of 43 police forces had a child abuse investigation on their patch.

At the request of the victims, I wrote to the then Labour government and asked for a Public Enquiry into abuse in the North West. I was told repeatedly that they would consider my request once the police investigations were over.

Conveniently, even though the investigations finished in or around 2003, the government never announced the public enquiry I wanted.

Perhaps now, things will change, and a proper enquiry announced.

The tragedy for the victims of abuse is that they tried to complain at the time, when they were young in the children's homes and were called liars. Thus the power of authority prevailed and its power allowed to create silence. Now, there is an opportunity to allow them some justice. Will the government grasp the nettle and give them what they want? I doubt it, if past history is anything to go by.

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