Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Fighting to be heard
While waiting to make a statement in regard to the abuse I suffered in Halifax and Wrexham, this
is the disheartening treatment I have received from Operation Yewtree. Will point out, Op Pallail
have been great so far, and have tried to help sort this out for me, although they are hampered
by the fact Op Yewtree are in control of my case, for the moment.
As a survivor of Bryn Alyn Community, the trauma's inflicted upon my mind whilst in Wrexham only served to broaden my existing untreated mental health issues. My last diagnosis, less than 6 months ago, was Manic Depressive Schizophrenic with Multiple Personalities Disorders. I went undiagnosed and untreated for approximately 27 years.
When the child abuse investigations were re-opened last year, I thought.... finally, my chance to have my say, maybe find a little peace along the way. So I came forward, and laid out the basic facts of my case to the authorities.
It was decided that my case fell under both Operation Yewtree (Jimmy Savile and Others) and Operation Pallail (2nd attempt at the Waterhouse mess).
Firstly, I was told that my Interview with Yewtree would be sometime this year, and Pallail would probably do their interview some time next year.
This was because Yewtree didn't need to know I had left Bryn Alyn with a newborn baby, despite the fact that Calderdale Social Services were in charge of my case, they held the Care Order in place, and once every 6 weeks they would pay travel and board for my mum to visit.
Not good enough was my response to that. I've waited 21 years to make my
statement. It's a one-time deal, no 2nd takes, no extended head-screwing. So it took a couple of weeks-worth of phone calls, and it was agreed my interviews could be recorded at the same time, to enable a chronological verbal record of my life through the "Care" system.
Tues 18th Dec
I rang Halifax Police Station this morning to confirm my interview for 12pm Friday, to be informed that,
whilst I could have an Appropriate Adult or Legal Council present at the station, they would not be allowed in the interview with me. I could, if I needed, call for a break in the interview, and go into the waiting room to speak with my Appropriate Adult, but that was it.
Now I was always under the impression that, in this Country we have the right to have legal representation in direct attendance whenever a legally binding statement is made, be it witness, prosecution or defense.
It is also my understanding that Operation Pallail has repeatedly advised that all survivors/victims connected to these investigations be allowed "somebody to hold their hand" during the emotional rollercoaster that is a Police Interview.
The Officer cited three reasons for his/their decision:
1; I was a witness not a suspect.
My reply....so what?! It is a basic constitutional right to have Legal there.
2; It's not a spectator sport (his words, not mine).
My reply....stunned silence.
3; To avoid any undue influence regarding the evidence given.
My reply......my Solicitor who has been my friend and confidante for 18 years, and wants me to get some kind of peace at long last would NEVER do anything that would risk my chances in this or any case. He has seen time and time again over the years the results of the damage that was inflicted upon me.
Not to mention the fact that Any solicitor is there purely to protect their client.....and after nearly 2 decades, he can see when my head starts to get "sidetracked" or agitated a lot earlier than most people can.
So I have now made the phone company extremely happy, and my bank manager nervous, as I rack up a phone bill more akin to an LA post code, ringing the Children's Commissioner for Wales, Victim Support, my Mental Health Support Worker, along with various other agencies to try to get this decision altered.
My last contact with Halifax C.P.T was at 4.30pm today when they rang me to "clarify once and for all, solicitors or appropriate adult in the waiting room only".
Wednesday 19th Dec
Despite the best efforts of the Social Worker team attached to Operation Pallail, and the Office of the
Children's Commissioner for Wales, to rectify this situation, I have just received word that the interviewing Officer has final say on who can be in attendance. This means the decision by Halifax Child Protection Unit, to not allow my Solicitor or an Appropriate Adult to be present, is to be upheld.
Unfortunately, this means I will not be making a statement on Friday to the police about the abuse I suffered in Children's Homes in Wrexham and Halifax. My mental health is too fragile at this time to even think about sitting in front of a camera and a police officer to open the "door" and let the demons run loose in my head.
Thursday 20th Dec
Halifax Police phoned to say that they are to request the use of an Intermediary Service; Somebody to come in, meet with me, and go away to advise the police on "how best to extract the information from me." The actual interview is still to be conducted with me and an Officer in a room, on my own with any support sat in a waiting room.
Whilst on the phone to the Sgt, having told him the name of one individual I was waiting to make allegations about, and said I was under the impression he was dead.
He went to his PC, asked me to hold on while he checked the details..... A moment later, he informed me of the individuals City of residence, along with his current name, age and told me he is on the Sex Offenders register for life.
I did not ask him for this indepth info, nor do I know why he chose to tell me.
As far as I was concerned, a simple dead or alive was enough to make my skin crawl.
Friday 21st Dec
Children's Commissioner for Wales contacted me today, and have agreed to ask Operation Pallail to take over the interview process, although they don't envisage being able to do this until January, which is understandable.
Let's face it, if it weren't my life, I sure wouldn't be sitting through even this much, 4 days before Xmas.
Have also had contact from the Social Work team attached to Operation Pallail, and have asked them to push for Pallail to take over my Interview, and case. Let Yewtree go to them for info.
I no longer have faith in Yewtree to act accordingly in this matter.
Thursday 10th Jan.
Some good news from west yorkshire for a change. My video interview for Operation Pallial and Operation Yewtree is finally scheduled to go ahead.
Halifax Police have now replaced the officer in charge of my case. The new officer in charge has said she has no issues with me being accompanied during interview.
When I met with her, she stated that "If thats what it takes to get it done, it's how it needs to be done."
I met with the Intermediary Service who have agreed that I do require somebody with me during interview. Their rep said she would be more than happy to attend both my interview and subsequent court dates in her capacity as an Intermediary.
My video interview is due to take place on or around the 8th of February.
There were a couple of issues that occurred during the meeting, but overall, rather productive and positive.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who worked to make this possible, Children's Commissioner for Wales, Operation Pallial, Jason McCartney MP (Colne Valley), Ian Whiteley, the guys at the media sites who highlighted my plight when most would not listen and, to those who have supported me during these last few months. It is down to you all that I am to be allowed to make my statement, 21 years after the abuse I suffered in Children's Homes across the UK.