Archive

Peter McKelvie

Comment from Peter McKelvie:

“I am perplexed by the complete wall of silence in the media following the publication of this story.

This is a major breakthrough but has gone unnoticed it seems.
This is the first time I have read in the media of “evidence” of a link between Leon Brittan and PIE.
I have seen the anonymous letter sent regarding Harding and his connections.
I am also aware of the sources who had first hand acquaintance with Harding and the visitors to his shop in Islington and they are totally credible
The allegations that these visitors included Brittan, Smith and Thorpe, plus the high profile members of PIE who had gone public at the time, are very credible
The reason for a return to a conspiracy of silence by the media does not bode well for survivors of abuse by very powerful networks”
Clockmaker Keith Harding played vital role in Britain’s biggest child sex ring
by James Fielding
Sunday Express, 10th May 2015
 The pervert met regularly with MPs Leon Brittan and Cyril Smith at his world-renowned workshop.

The former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe would also drop by along with key members of the vile Paedophile Information Exchange Steven Adrian Smith and Tom O’Carroll.

A PIE list seized in 1984 records Harding, who died from cancer last year aged 82, as member 329 and his address as Hornsey Road, Holloway, north London.

He is understood to have kept hidden a list of more than 1,000 PIE members with prominent names including top politicians from the Thatcher era.

One of his staff, who worked for him between 1980 and 1987, said: “Leon Brittan and Cyril Smith were both regular visitors to the shop.Usually they would come in via the side door, other times they would ring the bell at the front entrance and come in.“They’d straight away ask for Keith who would be coming down the stairs.

“Then they would then either go up to his office for a private meeting or they’d go out for several hours.”

The former worker added: “The shop had many high profile customers, including the Royals, because we were one of the few antique dealers in the world that specialised in restoring clocks, music boxes and automatons.

“It’s only now, with what I know about Brittan and Smith, and of course Keith, that has made me wonder what they were doing. Jeremy Thorpe too was an occasional visitor.”

Harding was given the Freedom of the City of London and made a member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.He moved to Gloucester in 1987 after PIE disbanded, setting up Keith Harding’s World of Mechanical Music, a museum in Northleach, near Cheltenham.He was exposed as a member of PIE last November when footage emerged of him appearing alongside Jimmy Savile on a Christmas special of Jim’ll Fix It.

It later transpired that he had been convicted of indecent assault against four children aged eight and nine in 1958 when he was a teacher.

He apparently confessed to a friend he had the list of names kept in a safe.

Harding’s civil partner John Ferris, who now runs the museum, said yesterday: “I know nothing of any list. The safe is empty now. Keith never disclosed much about his life in London. I only met him in 1994 and I never knew he was a part of the Paedophile Information Exchange.”

KeithHarding

Keith Harding

 

Peter McKelvie’s unabridged comment for the Guardian article Greville Janner affair: Children’s homes inquiry evidence ‘must be released’.

“For all the incredibly brave survivors who have come forward re Janner, they deserve at the very least an explanation as to why the Kirkwood inquiry wasn’t made public and they certainly deserve the right to know everything that was heard behind closed doors then

The whole of Parliament needs to make a public apology for the standing ovation given to Janner
It is simply not possible that the Attorney General, the DPP, the hierarchies of the main parties/security services,as well as very senior Police Officers at  the time, did not know of what  Janner stood accused
This pattern is now glaringly obvious in the cases of Smith, Brittan , Morrrison, to name but a few, and will soon be revealed to apply to further protected politicians right up to Prime Minister level.

It is quite remarkable that the new Chair of the Independent Inquiry in to Institutional and Organised CSA had to justify her credentials to the Chair of the HASC, and be cross examined, when that person would have known the severity of the allegations facing Janner, has been a longstanding friend and confidante of Janner, even leading a campaign to clear his friend’s name in the 90’s and he failed to declare a conflict of interests and stand down as soon as Janner’s home and offices were raided by Police in 2013.”

 

Please also read this important article by Jay Rayner:
I saw up close how an establishment closed ranks over the Janner affair

The Observer, 19 April 2015

A little over 24 years ago, as a young freelance journalist on the Independent on Sunday, I telephoned the Leicester office of Raymonds News Agency and arranged for a reporter to cover an imminent pre-trial hearing at the city’s magistrates court. It was the sort of mundane hearing that would not normally trouble the media. A few days before, in a Leicester pub, I had met a solicitor’s clerk, to whom I had been introduced by a source on a previous story. The clerk told me that at the hearing a former children’s home manager called Frank Beck, who stood charged of sexually abusing the children in his care, would claim the man responsible for the offences was actually Leicester West’s long-standing MP, Greville, now Lord, Janner.

Events played out exactly as I had been told they would. At the hearing’s conclusion, Beck shouted out his claims and was duly wrestled to the floor by the clerk of the court, before being taken back to the cells. Rumours about Janner that had circulated in the city for some years were now recorded by the journalist I had placed there and thus out in the public domain.

Last week, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, announced that the now 86-year-old Janner would not be facing any charges on the grounds that he was suffering from dementia and therefore unfit to stand trial. It required the CPS to add that “this decision does not mean or imply that… Janner is guilty of any offence”. In turn, Janner’s family issued their own statement praising the man’s “integrity” before adding: “He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.”

However, in an exceptionally rare move, the CPS went on to detail the exact charges Janner would have faced had he been deemed well enough: the 22 sex offences, alleged to have taken place from 1969 to 1988, involving nine children and young adults then cared for in children’s homes. These ranged from indecent assaults to buggery. What’s more, Saunders admitted Janner should have been charged in 1991 and that there were two further missed opportunities in 2002 and 2007 when the “evidential test was passed”, meaning there was a realistic prospect of conviction.

Saunders has now appointed a high court judge to investigate the failings, though, if he likes, I can tell him now what went wrong and spare him the trouble.

The establishment, in the shape of his fellow MPs, men such as Labour’s Keith Vaz, Tory David Ashby and the then Lib Dem MP now Lord Carlile, closed ranks. Janner was a barrister and MP, a man who campaigned for justice for the victims of the Holocaust. It simply couldn’t be true. That Frank Beck was eventually found guilty of horrendous abuse charges and sent to prison (where he later died of a heart attack) aided them. Clearly Beck had been trying to save his own skin. The possibility that Janner had also been guilty didn’t seem to occur to them.

Faced by stories of cover-ups around paedophiles such as MPs Cyril Smith and Thatcher’s henchman Peter Hayman, hindsight can make it tough to get a handle on how such conspiracies functioned. Who covered up for whom? Did everybody collude to do so? What was the mechanism? Sometimes, as we can with the Janner case, you simply have to play the tape forward.

All reporters have stories that get away from them. The Janner story is mine. At the pub meeting, I was given copies of letters from Janner to one of his alleged victims. Only if you had been told a backstory do those letters look incriminating. They make arrangements to meet in hotels, talk of “mutual understanding” and sign off with expressions of “love”. My expectation was that these letters would be tested in court alongside other evidence.

Getting Beck’s shouted accusation about Janner suited my purposes. Since it happened in open court it put something on the record that at some point could be used in a story. While the Beck case was ongoing it was all sub judice and nothing further about Janner could be reported. The MP was also bound by the Contempt of Court Act. The moment Beck was found guilty, however, Janner declared in the House of Commons that there was “not a shred of truth in any of the allegations”.

What happened next was crucial. There was a (failed) parliamentary attempt to change the Contempt of Court Act to protect people named during proceedings in the way Janner had been. During the debate, many MPs, including Ashby and Carlile, spoke up for him. Key was Vaz, MP for the neighbouring Leicestershire constituency, who clearly hadn’t been party to the rumours circulating in his home town. He said his dear friend had been the “victim of a cowardly and wicked attack”. That was it. The story was dead. The Independent on Sunday was not a paper to be cowed by pressure from above, but it was simpler than that. Clearly Janner was set up. I don’t even recall being taken off the story. It was just never spoken of again.

Today, Vaz is chair of the Commons home affairs select committee. He enjoys portraying himself as a champion of the voiceless, happy to castigate the Home Office over its handling of the current investigation into child abuse. Last week, I asked Vaz via Twitter whether he had anything to say about Janner, given the CPS announcement. He responded by blocking me. He later unblocked me but, at the time of writing, has still not commented.

The temptation is to demand a law change to stop something like this happening again, but the law is perfectly adequate. It’s the way it has been exercised – or not exercised – that is at issue. In 1991, Janner consulted solicitor David Napley and the barrister George Carman, both now deceased. According to a source with knowledge of that meeting, Carman was astounded, based on what Janner had told him, that he was not later charged.

Leicestershire police are baffled now, too, and are apparently investigating ways of challenging the CPS decision. They even released a statement from an alleged victim. “If he was an everyday person with a normal life and job, justice would [have] been served,” he said. Curiously, it echoes Janner’s comments in 1997 about a man spared a trial for Nazi war crimes because of his age. “I am sorry that he was not tried while he was fit enough to stand,” he said. “There was absolutely no reason why he should have escaped charges forever.”

How was this allowed to happen? Perhaps it was simply force of personality, which I saw at first hand. In May 1992, Janner invited me to tea. I was intrigued. I knew people who worked for him and had been asking pointed questions. He must have known this. If so, he gave no indication. He cheerfully poured the tea, handed round sandwiches and talked light politics. He didn’t give the impression of a man who feared the judicial system catching up with him. As of last week, it never will.

Napier is an evil,calculating, manipulative paedophile
The charges he was found guilty on today were the tip of the iceberg for the scale of abuse he carried out over 40 years

After been found guilty of abuse as early as 1972, Napier was placed on List 99 with the Department of Education and so should not have been allowed to teach again
However Peter Righton, an equally devious and prolific abuser, intervened
As Director of Education at the National Institute for Social Work, Righton had become a prestigious and respected social work professional.
( The National Institute for Social Work – NISW – was a provider of services aimed at achieving excellence in practice and management in social work and social care in the UK and past employees include Sir Peter Barclay – Author with Righton of the Barclay Report – Sir Williiam Utting – Author of the Utting Report – Daphne Statham – Director – Dame Denise Platt – Chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection – Barbara Hearn OBE Panel member on Independent Inquiry 2014 )

Righton on headed NISW paper wrote to the Department of Education claiming he was a counsellor of convicted paedophiles ( in reality they were his close knit PIE friends ) and that he had counselled Napier to the point he was no longer a risk to children and could return to teaching.
He added in his letter to the D of Ed that to be doubly certain he ( Righton ) had sought a second opinion from a well known child psychiatrist who concurred with his expert opinion
The psychiatrist in question was Dr.Morris Fraser, another convicted paedophile and PIE member who wrote a supporting report on Great Ormond St headed note paper

This allowed Napier to embark on a new teaching career abroad employed by the British Council, founded by the UK Government in 1934
He was able ( by his own admission in a number of letters to Righton over many years ) to abuse countless number of boys in Sweden and Egypt over many years in the late 70’s through the 80’s until 1992 when the arrest of Righton and the discovery of these letters led to his ( Napier’s) immediate dismissal

Napier and Righton ” shared ” a large number of victims, and offences,including rape, during the 80’s but never faced charges on any of the most serious cases of abuse

Many questions remain unanswered including who were Napier’s referees for his employment with the British Council

Why was Righton allowed to reach the very top of the social work profession ( with posts at NISW and the National Children’s Bureau as stepping stones to positions as a Home Office/ Government “expert” on major reports ) despite being caught red handed abusing boys on a large scale in the 1950’s and writing quite openly in NISW and NCB journals, articles etc from 1971 onwards about his views that adult and child sexual relationships were not necessarily harmful

In 1993 I spoke to 3 victims who refused to give evidence
One told me very convincingly that Napier took him to parties ” where he was introduced to the rich and famous ” and that Righton was involved in all these activities as well

In court today Napier’ s Counsel stated that Napier was now full of remorse
I don’t believe he has shown one iota of remorse in an adulthood dedicated to the ruthless pursuit of vulnerable children purely to abuse sexually

As a true test of his new found “remorse ” he can now share with the Police all the names of the ” rich and famous ” who attended the parties his victims referred to

As Treasurer of the Paedophile Information Exchange in its peak period of membership in the mid 70’s Napier holds the key to the identity of hundreds of dangerous abusers who continued to abuse thousands of children over many decades
He can now pass all this information to the Police as testament to his newly found regret and remorse

Labour leader Ed Miliband has made a statement saying that the government should get a move on in setting up a national inquiry into organised child abuse.

The case now is overwhelming for the Government to get an overarching inquiry into child abuse up and running. We have seen scandals of child abuse in different institutions, in different parts of the country and stretching across different decades. An overarching inquiry has been delayed too long and needs to get moving as fast as possible to start listening to all those who have been let down by a system set up to protect them.” (BBC News)

This is in sharp contrast to the condescending and evasive reply that Ed Miliband’s office gave to a handwritten letter from Peter McKelvie demanding a national inquiry, which referred to an open letter to David Cameron (see below). The reply sounds like it’s discussing a complaint about roadworks, instead of decades of horrific child abuse and subsequent cover-ups by people in authority.

Miliband’s main interest in supporting an inquiry at this late stage seems to be political expediency, after Labour-run Rotherham council has been shown to have allowed 1400 vulnerable children to have been abused, raped, and exploited over a 16 year period.

EdMiliband

Dear Mr. Cameron

On the very day, 24th October 2012, that Tom Watson asked you a PMQ re. the possibility of a link between a very large and highly organised paedophile ring and No 10, you made a number of quotes to the mainstream media.

You were in fact referring to the Savile/BBC/NHS scandal.

I made a note of some of those quotes :-

”The Government will do all it can do, other institutions must do what they can do, to make sure that we learn the lesson of this and it can NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN”

“Collusion should NEVER happen again ”

”The measure of how our society is, is how we treat its most vulnerable members”

There are no more vulnerable members of our society than children who have been taken in to care and then re-abused by the very people charged with the responsibility of caring for them and protecting them,and even worse then passing them on to be further abused by the very people who make the laws in this country and are expected to lead the way on the moral compass of that society.

I have no doubt that you have watched or been made aware of Channel 4′s Dispatches on 12th September and the allegations that arose from it regarding the role of senior politicians, the security services and the Crown Prosecution Service in covering up the horrendous abuse carried out by Cyril Smith over 5 decades.The overlap with Savile in terms of who knew about this abuse were laid bare.

I also have no doubt that you are aware that your colleagues in your party, Edwina Currie,Gyles Brandreth and Rod Richards have made very damning statements of how well known in Westminster circles it was that Peter Morrison was a dangerous paedophile, and yet his career was unaffected as he rose to be Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Mrs. Thatcher’s PPS in 1990 and her campaign manager that same year despite this knowledge having been around for many years.

I also have no doubt that you are aware of the statement of Tim Fortescue,Edward Heath’s Chief Whip from 1970-73, made public on Michael Cockerell’s BBC Documentary in 1995 called “Westminster’s Secret Service “.
Talking about the role of the chief whip, Fortescue said ” For anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth ………….. it might be erm erm a scandal involving small boys ……….. we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points ……. and if I mean, that sounds a pretty,pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then,he will do as we ask forever more.”

I don’t need to tell you of the revulsion I feel towards our political masters having worked with sexually abused children for over 30 years when I heard of how the Whips ran the Dirt Book system.

Your colleague, John Whittingdale, in his role as Chair of the Culture Committee,put himself forward as the moral voice of Parliament in the days following the exposure of Savile on national TV.
He lost no opportunity to appear on every news channel for many days to demand in effect the head of the Director General of the BBC.To date I have not heard you or Mr. Whittingdale demand such investigations in to your own institution despite the mountain of concern a small proportion of which I have referred to above.
Just on Savile alone without looking any further why was there no investigation along the lines of the many BBC inquiries in to why a British Prime Minister was so close to Savile that he allegedly attended 13 consecutive New Year’s Eve parties at Chequers and why the same Prime Minister allegedly persevered for many years in insisting that such an evil man long identified as having a deviant sexual history should get a knighthood,ignoring the advice of her closest advisers.
Why was the same man so welcome in Prince Charles’s properties despite the security services and similar vetting institutions having enough opportunity to tap in to the ” gossip” about Savile that was around for decades.

I would dearly like to go in to more detail but until the Metropolitan Police’s Operations Fernbridge and Fairbank are completed then for obvious reasons I can not.

In the aftermath of the Lord McAlpine affair I was extremely disappointed by the confusion you attempted to create by making accusations of gay witch-hunts. There is no connection whatsoever between being gay and being a paedophile.
This is about and only about people who abuse young children regardless of whether the abuser is heterosexual or gay.
There is no witch-hunt against gay people and it was most irresponsible for a Prime Minister to make such a statement when the abuse of our most vulnerable was the issue.

Now is the time for you to show the genuine commitment expected of a Prime Minister and do what you preached in those statements last October especially ” COLLUSION SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN ” and the demand that ALL institutions look inwards and examine their role in past collusion/cover up.

A starting point, and to give Parliament and Government any credibility in this heinous historical scandal, is for you to put all party political considerations aside and arrange an urgent meeting with Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to draw up a blueprint as to how your own institution will be investigated along the lines of the way you and colleagues demanded that people be brought to account in the BBC or NHS for their failure to blow the whistle on Savile.

It would be better if you led such an exercise before it is forced upon you by public demand.
The latter will happen in time.

A starting point would be an immediate statement that there will be urgent cross-party talks to set up an independant body to examine who ordered these cover ups of people like Smith and Morrison, after ordering an immediate Police investigation by the National Crime Agency and ensuring that the latter body has sufficient resources to go wherever the evidence takes them and however long it takes. This must include the investigation of living politicians, police officers,civil servants,security services personnel etc.

Yours sincerely,

Peter McKelvie

 

A recently discovered press cutting shows that Peter Righton was questioned about indecent assaults on children by the Obscene Publications Squad in November 1994 – several months after the Hereford & Worcester investigation had been shut down, and after the BBC documentary Secret Life of a Paedophile had been broadcast. It can be assumed by the absence of any further news reports that he was never charged with an offence, despite clear evidence from his diaries including names and ages of victims, along with the name of the institution where he abused them. The November 1994 arrest took place in Eye, Suffolk – presumably at Lord Henniker’s estate, where he had been living since his 1992 arrest.

The Independent, 10th November 1994

A former lecturer on child social work is being questioned about indecent assaults on children. Scotland Yard’s Obsene Publications Squad arrested Peter Righton, 68, in Eye, Suffolk.

 

Peter McKelvie ( former Hereford & Worcester team manager) gives some background to the case:

“One of the many reasons I contacted Tom Watson MP in October 2012 was my anger and frustration that Peter Righton had been allowed to die with just one minor conviction for possession of indecent images of children when I knew how evil a web he had spun in full sight of leading social work agencies such as the National Children’s Bureau and the National Institute of Social Work not to mention the high regard he was obviously held in at the Department of Health

Much has been made of Savile being given the keys to Broadmoor

Righton didn’t need the keys, he could walk in to any children’s home or local authority boarding school in the UK on ” official business ”

I was given full access by West Mercia police to Righton’s diaries and letters which gave the clues to a large network of Paedophiles with “official ” access to children.
Unfortunately my team weren’t allowed to pursue these leads ourselves as the alleged offences occurred outside our statutory geographical boundaries
We had to pass all our relevant information on to other local authorities.
 With the full support of my then Director of Social  Services, David Tombs, I wrote a report for the Department of Health pleading for them to agree to fund and set up a “National Joint Social Worker/Police investigation team” so that we could pursue all the leads we had and go anywhere the evidence took us
Righton in his diaries had made the task of investigation relatively straightforward.
He had listed the names and ages of each boy he had abused from 1957 onwards in categories of which institution the victims had been resident at the time,and most sickeningly of all, had scored each child’s level of abuse from 1 ( touching) to 10 ( buggery )
My Director was prepared to release me and 2 of my social workers to be part of such a team if we were seen as suitable applicants
Nothing came of this request and this huge body of evidence against Righton fell in to a black hole
A small group of us, a very senior Police  Officer, two very experienced investigative journalists and myself met with a senior Opposition Party MP in 1994 to lodge a complaint and demand action.
We named MP’s that we believed might be involved in this organised network
Nothing came of that either

My Director David Tombs retired in 1994 and my team was closed down and disbanded virtually immediately afterwards.”

Peter McKelvie has given me permission to publish a letter he sent to a senior Labour politician on 3rd August. No reply has been received as of today (8th August). The politician’s name has been redacted for the time being.

 

 

Dear (name redacted)

I am a retired Child Protection professional and the person who contacted Tom Watson, MP, in September 2012, as a result of which he asked a PMQ on 24th October 2012 regarding a paedophile ring with links to No.10, a question which led to the Metropolitan Police setting up Operation Fairbank/Fernbridge, which I ‘m sure you will be aware is both ongoing and rapidly expanding following significant witnesses at long last coming forward to tell the truth about the alleged appalling collusion of senior politicians of all the main political parties in the alleged abuse carried out by their colleagues.

I was sickened to the stomache when I first heard Edward Heath’s Chief Whip, the late Tim Fortescue’s account on Michael Cockerell’s 1995 BBC documentary of how Whips covered up criminal activity by MP’s towards young children and I don’t need to tell you the revulsion I felt towards our political masters having worked with sexually abused children over a 30 year period when I heard of how the Whips ran the Dirt Book system.

I was very pleased to see the BBC Newsnight team show the Tim Fortescue interview again on 7th July this year because survivors of abuse now have more strength, belief and courage than politicians are going to be braced for. Time is on their side and this time they will not go away until they get the answers they deserve.

I wrote to David Cameron on 16th September 2013 asking him to set up an independent body to examine the allegations of abuse by elite groups within the Establishment and said ” It would be better if you led such an exercise before it is forced upon you by public demand. THE LATTER WILL HAPPEN IN TIME “

Not only did people power win the day on the demand for an independent inquiry but it further demonstrated to politicians that survivors and their supporters would not accept token gestures such as the appointment of puppet figures to lead such an Inquiry.

My reason for writing to you is very specific.

You will be aware how the evidence against Peter Morrison has become much more specific in recent months culminating in a statement by Barry Strevens, Mrs. Thatcher’s personal bodyguard that he warned her that Morrison was ” involved in sex parties with under-age boys “

Graham Nicholls, who ran the Chester Trades Council when Morrison was Chester’s MP, wrote the following :- 

” After the 1987 General Election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour Party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe Station with a 15 year boy. A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the Police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further. Morrison walked away scot – free. “

An Independent Inquiry will need to examine this alleged scenario in forensic detail.

For the last 2 years I have been working closely with a very trusted, committed and dedicated team of retired police officers, investigative journalists and child protection managers and we will do everything in our power to assist and support survivors to get the answers as to who colluded over the horrific abuse they suffered at the hands of powerful individuals.

Survivors have shown enough faith in some of our group to disclose historical abuse that they have felt too frightened to talk about for decades.

It is through my work with this group that I have now received from 3 seperate sources an account of an alleged role that you personally played in the cover up over Peter Morrison’s rape of children and young people which he allegedly carried out in the full knowledge of senior politicians of all main parties.

 

This is the gist of the allegations :-

” A British Aerospace Trade Union Convenor said a member said he was raped by Peter Morrison as a child  – the Convenor went to the National HQ of the union who put it to Labour front bench. (name redacted) was saying that the Tory Front Bench had been approached. “

This I’m sure you will agree is very specific.

A second and third source confirms these allegations and it is alleged that these conversations first took place at a 1993/4 Xmas party hosted by the Welsh Parliamentary Labour Party.

I would like to give you the opportunity to address these allegations as they implicate you in a very serious cover up of the rape of a child.

Obviously I have no way of knowing whether the statements of other people are true but I will certainly present the allegations to the Independent Inquiry and demand that everyone involved is interviewed on oath.

 

Yours sincerely

Peter McKelvie

 

Peter McKelvie writes:

“If anyone hasn’t heard Bishop Paul Butler of Durham’s speech in the House of Lords Child Protection debate please try and catch it. (full text below)
I have the pleasure of working with Bishop Paul at present in rooting out some of the most influential alleged abusers of the last 40 years.
There is not an institution in this country, including my own social work profession, which hasn’t been infiltrated by Paedophiles and then covered up or colluded with the abuse.
Paul Butler now has the Safeguarding responsibility for the Church of England and is totally committed to making amends for the failings of the Church of England in the past.

It is to their shame that the key social work agencies haven’t appointed a spokesperson at the most senior level possible to apologise for the same failings we made with the lives of tens of thousands of children in local authority care who were subjected to abuse by individuals but of even more concern networking Paedophiles throughout the care system right across the country

However the greatest shame has to be with the political hierarchies who have taken extraordinary measures for decades to cover up or collude with the abuse of so many vulnerable children by their own at national and local level.

David Cameron had the opportunity 18 months ago to like Bishop Paul be the spokesman and champion for this and previous governments’ roles in the cover ups of abuse by in particular MPs.
If he eventually tries to jump on the bandwagon and join, or worse, try to speak for the growing number of MPs committing themselves to an Independent Inquiry, then the public and especially survivors will see such a move for exactly what it would be now, political expediency and self preservation.

Could I respectfully suggest to survivors, who should have the greatest say as to who should be on an Independent Inquiry panel, that Paul Butler be one of the first names they consider.”

 

House of Lords debate, 26th June 2014. Children and Vulnerable Adults: Abuse – Motion to Take Note (full transcript of debate here)

The Bishop of Durham

My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, very warmly for raising this matter. In my role as co-chair of the Church of England and Methodist Church Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group and the lead bishop for safeguarding, I daily have issues regarding the abuse of children and adults at risk brought to my attention. Clergy and other church leaders across the nation lead churches in which those who have been abused seek comfort, strength and healing. The staff of church schools daily hear from the children whom they serve stories of abuse of all kinds. In my maiden speech during the debate on the gracious Speech, I welcomed the Government’s courageous decision to strengthen the law on psychological and emotional abuse in the Serious Crimes Bill. This adds to other areas where the law has been improved over recent years. The Care Act 2014 has moved us from “vulnerable adults” to “adults at risk”, helping to recognise that while some adults are permanently vulnerable—because of, for instance, age, illness or disability—others become at risk for a period of time. This recognition is undoubtedly helpful. So, too, will be the statutory duty to have local safeguarding adult boards.

Improvements have therefore already been made. The Private Member’s Bill of the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, on online safety offers a further opportunity to help tackle the extremely serious issue of online abuse. I hope that the Government will support that Bill. Indeed, the extension of the offence of extreme pornography to include possession of pornographic images of rape and assault by penetration in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will continue to send a message to the public that such abuse is unacceptable. The situation becomes ever more concerning with the use of the dark net, too. CEOP must be supported adequately to stay ahead of the game, so that it can discover innovative ways to unmask the users of paedophile sites and not be allowed continually to fall further behind.

I will focus particularly on the voice of survivors. This has been the deepest lesson for me, and for the church as a whole, over recent years. We have previously failed to listen adequately to the survivor’s voice. We must do so if we are to continue to improve the prevention of abuse of both children and adults at risk. Survivors have been calling for some years for the introduction of mandatory reporting by professionals. Far too many cases of abuse could have been prevented if professional people who had serious suspicions of abuse were required to report it to a relevant authority. There remains too much fear of whistleblowing or of being thought of as interfering. Mandatory reporting for professional staff would alleviate any doubts and prevent people from asking themselves, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”. Suspicions should not be brushed aside or left unheeded. The time for mandatory reporting has arrived.

Survivors also note the need for really good safe spaces, where those who have been abused can go to report their case and find the kind of support that they need. The Church of England and the Methodist Church are currently exploring how we might create such safe spaces. We are working with projects such as the Lantern Project on the Wirral and small, locally based survivor groups in Sussex, which have developed outstanding work. Work like this for survivors of abuse needs to be encouraged and supported more openly.

A further matter survivors have been calling for is the extension of the definition of “positions of trust” in the Sexual Offences Act 2003; the current definition is too limited in scope. Continued work is also required within the operation of the criminal justice system so that survivors and victims are enabled to share their stories in a supportive environment. There have been many good advances, but vigilance and continued improvement is required.

Finally, in listening to the voice of survivors one very strong message keeps being shared: “You can do all you like to improve your legislation, your procedures and practices to ensure the present and the future are better at prevention and in dealing with both survivors and abusers than in the past; but unless and until you face up to the reality of what has previously happened, you will never really change the culture of abuse within which we live”. In short, if we do not face up to past failures, we will never really improve the future. This is a lesson we in the church are slowly learning and seeking to tackle. We have a very long way to go.

The lessons of cases like Savile and Rochdale have highlighted that, in our nation, we have a long history of abuse within institutions. Schools, residential care homes, hospitals, the police force, churches and local and national political institutions have all been used by abusers to hide their wicked activities. Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today.

The survivors are right when they say that if we want the future to be truly different and better we have to confront the past. I believe, as do many of my colleagues, that we need a fully independent inquiry that will fully examine the reality of institutionally

based abuse in our nation over the past possibly as much as 50 years. This is needed so that we can understand why this happens, where responsibilities lie and what cultural, societal and institutional discourses and dynamics lie at the heart of these ongoing failings.

I know it will take time and will be costly to undertake, and I know that for both those reasons it will be argued against. However, I firmly believe that the true cost of child abuse and the abuse of adults at risk is far higher than any of us have ever been prepared to acknowledge in terms of the mental, emotional, social and physical health and well-being of very large numbers of our population. Justice, fairness and the very health of our society demands that we no longer hide away from this dark part of our story. We need an independent public inquiry and we need it very soon.

 

See also: Bishop of Durham calls for inquiry into institutional abuse (The Northern Echo)