Why Elizabeth Butler-Sloss must not head the National Inquiry into Organised Child Abuse

Butler-Sloss chaired the Inquiry into the arrangements for dealing with suspected cases of child abuse in Cleveland since 1 January 1987 (Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland 1987 (1988) London. HMSO)

Butler-Sloss presided over a cover up which the system decided was necessitated by the social and political pressures for containment. This was to the great detriment of the children who had actually been abused at that time, to the detriment of children in that position ever since, and to the professionals trying to bring this to light. This was a betrayal because initially we trusted that the Inquiry would be powerful and would want to uncover the truth. 

She has never to our knowledge made any public connection between the silencing of professionals by the Inquiry, and what happened to Child Protection in the UK as a direct result of the Cleveland Inquiry. Therefore, we have no confidence in her capacity to bring a neutral stance to this present problem.  Despite her demonstrated understanding during the inquiry that many of the children in Cleveland had in fact been abused, she let the system return them home to the likelihood of further abuse. This in our mind was wrong and immoral. There was no excuse, even the one she gave, which was that it was not her remit to decide whether abuse had taken place because the high court was doing that job.

After Cleveland, professionals lost their mandate to intervene to protect children and this legacy has continued to this day. As professionals who were among the first to expose the extent of child sexual abuse we experienced at first hand how a public inquiry is used to allay public disquiet and divert attention from the truth about sexual crime against children. We cannot let this happen again.

Heather Bacon. Former Consultant Psychologist, North Tees Health Authority. Witness to the Cleveland Inquiry
Sue Richardson. Former Child Abuse Consultant, Cleveland Social Services Department. Witness to the Cleveland Inquiry
Authors of Child Sexual Abuse. Whose Problem? Reflections from Cleveland.  1991

What on earth is Lord Elizabeth thinking of? Apart from the idiosyncrasy of calling herself Lord, it is obvious, she should withdraw because her brother is alleged to have closed down an investigation into a senior official. That is not her fault. But it compromises her and it seems intransigent not to know that. 
There is another reason that Butler Sloss is not acceptable: she led the judicial inquiry in 1987 into the alleged abuse of 121 children in Cleveland that did not ask or answer the question on everyone’s lips – were the children abused?  
Though she acknowledged that the doctors who had diagnosed severe anal abuse were not always wrong, and that the medical findings were not doubted, she then and thereafter contributed to the vilification of professionals trying to do their job in the face of the evidence and of  ‘destructive’ police resistance to it.
Worse, her report contributed to the myth that children were the victims not of sexual abuse but of crazed doctors and social workers.
The only American expert she heard was accused adults’ advocate Ralph Uunderwager – later discredited for proposing that paedophilia could be seen as ‘god’s will.’
Her report also contributed to a regime that gave children one chance, and once only, to tell their story, in less than an hour, in a video interview with complete strangers.
Children’s evidence was not liberated, it was controlled and constrained – and closed down.
Her report was published in 1988. Before the year was out, the report of an eminent group of experts, ‘Action Taken Following the Report of the Judicial Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland’ was sent by the Northern Region Health Authority to the Department of Health. It detonated the myth:  after ‘extremely thorough and in-depth assessments of the children and families’ these experts concluded that 70-75 per cent of the diagnoses were correct.  This ‘would clearly be contrary to general public understanding of the accuracy of the diagnoses.’
The Department of Health has never acknowledged this report nor relieved the public of its misconceptions. Nor has Butler-Sloss. That is why whistleblowers and abuse survivors wont want to talk to her. 

Bea Campbell, award winning journalist.

Beatrix Campbell’s book, Unofficial Secrets, is an investigation into the Cleveland child abuse crisis.

  1. Reblogged this on Bob in Vienne and commented:
    What is behind the Butler-Sloss appointment? Stupidity? Ignorance? or the old, old, Cover Up ploy?
    Let’s hope people come forward now, point the finger and give evidence (if given the chance) at a proper enquiry and not this waste of time charade.

  2. Reblogged this on Thinking Out Loud and commented:
    The case against Dame Butler-Sloss grows and as it does her credibility is weakened. I don’t care what she calls herself but I do care that there are growing complaints of her judgement.

  3. Troyhand said:

    Law Institute Journal: The Official Organ of the Law Institute of Victoria, Volume 62
    Reviews Pty. Limited, 1988

    [Page 365]
    Cleveland Inquiry Chairman speaks out

    ****Immediate intervention in child sexual abuse cases may be “premature” and “undesirable” according to Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, who is currently chairing the Cleveland Inquiry****

    She said that in some cases it was preferable to leave the child in the home while the police, social workers and lawyers gather information regarding the complaint. However, in cases of non-accidental injury it is better to remove the child rather than wait for further injury or even death to occur. Dame Elizabeth, who addressed the Bicentennial Family Law Conference, urged people to listen to children more. “In my view the approach to the child should be, as a general proposition, to listen very carefully and take into account the age, the understanding and the likelihood of the reflection of adult input and, the older the child, giving increasing weight to their views. Increasing but not overwhelming. In the case of younger children you should also listen very carefully, because how else would they be able to know details of sexual acts unless they had been subjected to them?”

    In cases where there is a divorce pending, allegations of sexual abused should be looked at very carefully, “because those allegations may arise within a family locked into custody and access disputes. It [sexual abuse] is a popular allegation in many divorce cases in England at the moment and it has a special dimension in marital discord. Dame Elizabeth said that according to research done in Denver, U.S.A., up to 30 per cent of allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are untrue.

    Again we stressed the importance of listening to the child. “When a child says there has been abuse we believe him but with the child that says there has been no abuse we don’t. Sometimes we have to learn to live with suspicion and lack of proof. For some people that is very difficult.”

    Dame Elizabeth said that although child abuse is not new, “what is new is the public’s perception of it, the increased protection and realisation of the extreme youth of some of those who are victims. Until recently it has been difficult for people to understand that children need protection in the family home. Most people have some unease about it and that’s entirely understandable. There needs to be widespread understanding that this is a particularly difficult area in family law.”

    It is very important to correctly define sexual abuse so that everyone knows precisely what is being referred to, especially in the compilation of statistics. Dame Elizabeth cited four different definitions:

    1. Exposure — the viewing of pornography.
    2. Molestation (non-intrusive),
    3. Sexual intercourse (intrusive but not assault),
    4. Rape (assault),

    She stressed that children “are entitled to an explanation, kindness, consideration and respect” when being questioned over their experiences. During her keynote address Dame Elizabeth said that “family law work needs a sensitivity as well as a toughness greater than in other fields. In no other branch of the law is the objective and dispassionate advice of the lawyer needed more acutely and in no other branch of the law can it [be] so difficult to achieve.” She went on to say “I am personally opposed to judges at the top levels trying exclusively family matters. It is a subject here that is controversial, but as I am on the Judicial Studies Board it is a matter of interest to me.”

    Her remarks were later endorsed by the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Mr Justice Nicholson. Dame Elizabeth is the sister of the Lord Chancellor, Sir Michael Havers, father of the actor Nigel Havers. Her father was also a High Court judge and her husband a judge in Kenya.

  4. Troyhand said:
  5. Butler Sloss should indeed recuse herself because: How will she be able to facilitate disclosures when there is an absence of trust? TRUST and breach of it, is a core dynamic of abuse. If Butler Sloss cannot understand that basic aspect of abuse, then is she truly competent to chair the Inquiry?

    At 80 years of age and with many years working at the Family Bar, has Butler Sloss managed and metabolised the traumatic material she was exposed to, and can she assure us that she is not affected, the Inquiry and most of all victims will not be adversely impacted by an accumulation of symptoms of unavoidable secondary traumatic stress disorder?

    • NickF said:

      She should recuse herself because the first requirement of any judicial appointment is impartiality and the appearance of impartiality. Without both the process is fundamentally flawed. Her brother was directly involved in decision making around earlier allegations whilst in a senior government position. Various cabinet ministers and MPs in the same government are in the firing line as I understand it. How can she then impartially hear evidence and make findings around allegations of institutional failings in Westminster during that period? If she doesn’t recuse herself I urge victims or their representatives to seek judicial review of her appointment . The decision seems irrational given the background allegations.

  6. Woman on a Raft said:

    In 1998 Lord Browne Wilkinson reminded everyone of the principles of law when it transpired that Lord Hoffman was connected to Amnesty International, which was objected to by the team acting for General Pinochet .


    Re: Pinochet

    Senator Pinochet does not allege that Lord Hoffmann was in fact biased. The contention is that there was a real danger or reasonable apprehension or suspicion that Lord Hoffmann might have been biased, that is to say, it is alleged that there is an appearance of bias not actual bias.

    The fundamental principle is that a man may not be a judge in his own cause. This principle, as developed by the courts, has two very similar but not identical implications.

    First it may be applied literally: if a judge is in fact a party to the litigation or has a financial or proprietary interest in its outcome then he is indeed sitting as a judge in his own cause. In that case, the mere fact that he is a party to the action or has a financial or proprietary interest in its outcome is sufficient to cause his automatic disqualification.

    The second application of the principle is where a judge is not a party to the suit and does not have a financial interest in its outcome, but in some other way his conduct or behaviour may give rise to a suspicion that he is not impartial, for example because of his friendship with a party. This second type of case is not strictly speaking an application of the principle that a man must not be judge in his own cause, since the judge will not normally be himself benefiting, but providing a benefit for another by failing to be impartial.

    Baroness Butler-Sloss is in the same position as Lord Hoffman. Although she is not biased, the mere appearance or suspicion that she might be, thereby undermining public regard for the process, means that she must step down.

  7. Raymond Mallon Mayor of middlesbrough Council,was a Police detective in them days and he was investigated for offences as such in Cells where it was said that he gave suspects,un convicted Drugs for information as to the whereabouts of Drug dealers,who now are Council security guards,amongst many other trusted jobs,this was Operation Lancett Enquiry,I believe when I was arrested and was Assaulted by 8 of his officers in cells that these were protected by LAW under aged Children,he was Abusing,yet lancvett files have never been published,I was convicted based on falsified forensics evidence and whilst at my trial for burglary I asked for the Lancett files and was Granted by one judge who became removed from the trial,another judge was used in his place who refused point blank the lancett files,so that I could name the officers who were instrumental in my 23 false arrests from 1997 to 2010. To which I won 22 of those case,I’ve had threats on my life,3 attempts on my life in Cleveland police cells,Child sex abuse was apparent in those Cells the same as it was when I worked at Eton College which can be checked by looking up Cotton Hall house,Fives Courts Flat,in any of there Eton college Fixtures,there no room for broken laws and 6 judges Who covered it all up for Cleveland Police officers. Like there was in my case against them for forensics fruads on #Teesside.



  8. Troyhand said:

    The Show Trial of Elizabeth Butler-Sloss’s father, Sir Cecil Havers

    The Minority of One, Volume 4 – 1962

    The Judge Left the Judging to the Government

    -Would you press the button you know is going to annihilate millions of people?
    -If the circumstances demanded it I would.
    -Is there any official order you could not accept from the Government? Is there any decision you cannot accept?
    -It is my duty to carry out orders.

    Anyone who thinks this dialogue is quoted from the Nuremberg Trials is mistaken. The fanatic obeyer of orders was not a Nazi officer, but Air Commodore G. Magill, Director of Operations of the British Air Ministry. He was responding to questions posed by the 25-year-old Patrick Pottle, a co-defendant, in the London trial of six supporters of the Committee of 100.

    On February 20th, a London judge sentenced five demonstrators against nuclear warfare to prison-terms of eighteen months, and a woman demonstrator to a prison-term of twelve months.

    The trial reflected the British Government’s apprehension arising from the growing momentum of the Committee of 100. Formed in October 1900 by Betrand Russell and the Reverend Michael Scott, the Committee has been organizing nonviolent resistance to any weapons of mass destruction.

    On December 9, 1961, sit-downs against nuclear arms took place at American air bases in Great Britain. The six demonstrators were arrested before the demonstration took place. They were: the aforementioned Patrick Pottle, field secretary of the Committee of 100; Terrence Norman Chandler, 21; Ian Edward Dixon, 25; Trevor Richard Hatton, 30; Michael Joseph Randle, 27; and Helen Allegranza, 33.

    They were charged with conspiring to commit and with inciting other persons to commit a breach of Britain’s Official Secrets Act for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the State.

    England’s Attorney-General, Mr Reginald Manningham-Butler, labored to create the impression that the trial was not a political one and that the defendants were not being prosecuted for any views they may hold.

    It is obvious, however, that there was no possibility of adjudicating the case unless a judicial determination would first be made on the question of whether the action of the demonstrators was indeed prejudicial to the interests of the State. The defense in fact contended that the defendants were working in the interests of the State and not to their detriment.

    The judge, Sir Cecil Havers, determined that no testimony should be taken concerning nuclear disarmament, the existence of nuclear bomb bases in Britain, Britain’s preparations for nuclear warfare, or related matters. The witnesses were accordingly prevented from being questioned on these subjects.

    Two witnesses flew in for the trial from the United States. They were: Sir Robert Watson- Watt, the inventor of radar, and Prof. Linus Pauling, Nobel Laureate. The two prominent scientists were to testify on the effects of nuclear weapons, which should have been the central issue in the trial. Without it the legality of the demonstrators’ action, at least as far as the Official Secrets Act was concerned, could not be determined. Yet, Sir Cecil Havers ruled out any questioning along these lines and even overruled questions pertaining to the expertise of the two witnesses.

    Bertrand Russell took the witness stand. He challenged the judge’s presumption that only the Government may determine what is prejudicial to the interests of the state and said: “My purpose was to try to avoid the extermination of the people of this country and of many millions elsewhere.”

    The jury found the defendants guilty, but recommended leniency. When the accused refused to abandon “this plan of civil disobedience,” the judge disregarded the recommendation of leniency and pronounced the heartlessly heavy sentences.

    The Manchester Guardian, in commenting on the judge’s arbitrary interventions during the testimony by Sir Robert Watson-Watt and Dr. Linus Pauling, acknowledged that “The defense was thus unable to put before the jury its case that the actions of the accused were not prejudicial to the safety of the State but were beneficial . . . The judge accepted the Attorney-General’s argument that once the Crown had established an intent by the accused to enter a prohibited area it was irrelevant whether they believed that the result of going onto the base would not be prejudiced to the State.”

    Following the pronouncement of sentences, Earl and Lady Russell and 150 supporters of the Committee of 100 filed statements with Scotland Yard that they were “equally guilty with those who have been sent to prison.”

    The testimony which was disallowed in the courtroom was heard by 2,000 people in London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday, February 25. Sir Robert Watson-Watt, addressing the rally, said: “So scared of technology was the Establishment that the Attorney-General banned it from the witness box. Now I offer some comfortless fragments. At the end of 1960 the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons stood somewhere about 60,000 megatons, three million Hiroshimas. The problem of the dependable anti-missile missile is, in my view, an extremely difficult one. Even if it were solved it would leave the lingering death by fallout in place of the relatively merciful death by impact and firestorm.”

    Lord Russell in criticizing the trial commented: “This government tries people on serious charges and denies them the right to defend themselves. It excludes expert witnesses and declares matters of fact irrelevant. The doctrine enunciated by the Judge and the Attorney-General is an explicitly totalitarian doctrine. Only the State, they say, can judge. Conscience, morality, the welfare of the population – these are all irrelevant. This is the mentality which made Buchenwald.” And speaking of Buchenwald and of the testimony of the obedient Air Commodore Magill, Lord Russell recalled: “We sentenced men to death at Nuremberg for not disobeying orders.”

    Evidence Dr. Pauling was prevented from submitting at the trial, was read out to the assembly. He concluded his long presentation of relevant scientific data with these words: “Now my Government and the British Government will resume tests. This is the premeditated murder of millions of people. I have devoted my life to science and research. I believe in seeking truth. I cannot allow my life’s work to be so employed. I came here interrupting my work to tell the truth. I came to give evidence on what is prejudicial to the safety and interest of mankind. I supported the demonstration at Wethersfield, although I could not be there, because at that time I was in Moscow delivering a speech attacking the resumption of testing by the Russians. Now I came here to give evidence at this trial, and my evidence was ruled inadmissible.”

    From Trafalgar Square 400 people went to a police station to declare themselves as guilty as the six demonstrators sentenced to prison-terms.

    There can hardly be a question but that Sir Cecil Havers’ verdict will be long debated in England. It dealt with a heavy blow to the integrity of British jurisprudence. It has also dramatized the fact that a nation which pursues militaristic policies cannot escape the perversion of its traditional values. The case can be viewed as a warning of the self-destructive nature of a nation’s hysterical focus on foreign “enemies.”

  9. Troyhand said:

    Links to verify snippets of above article








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