Open Response to iiCSA:
Seminar 29th - 30th Nov 2016
Prof Jay, panel members, legal experts and all who attended, Thank you for having invited several survivors, myself included, to attend the seminar. Also a big thank you to the staff of the building we were in. Attentive, respectful, welcoming. (Cannot name building for security reasons)
The media has done more damage to the child abuse inquiry than any fall outs within the camp, or with survivors.
They have undermined it at every possible turn, especially since the appointment of Prof Alexis Jay to the Chair.
There was one news report, that I have seen so far, that commented on the inquiry seminar this week, despite several journalists being in attendance each day.
Having sat with her in a room for two days solid this week, and watched the some of the same legal jargon fly over the top of her head as well as my own; heard some of the panel comment that parts of legislation are unfamiliar to them; heard the lawyers pontificate over the long term suffering caused by CSA v's time limitation and legislation when it comes to investigation or reparation, I can honestly say..... This, under Prof Alexis Jay, is the best, and only chance we have.
OK, there is much that needs to be altered. The panel need to be more willing to engage with the “lowly oiks” they are there to help. I feel we made some progress in this area.
Rather than expecting us to sit quietly at the back, and if we have any comments, write them down and pass them up the chain of command for perusal, after presenting our case to be heard, we were able to swiftly and somewhat smoothly get the panel to agree to allow the survivor group to add their comments to each section of the seminar.
Some segments of the seminar, we felt needed no input from us and we remained respectfully silent.
This setup however, could be improved upon, I feel.
Despite the panel's accommodation of our wish to interact, it still felt like we were outsiders to the precedings. I personally would like to see a microphoned space usable by the survivor group, to air their contributions to each session. I would like the layout to be altered slightly, so none at the table had their backs to the “audience”, so each on the floor can see the facial expression of every person at the table; i.e. An arc with the Chair at the head, panel either side and the invited “Experts” lower down the table, with CP and Press invites along with Support workers and interested parties able to view all proceedings. The Mic area for survivor feedback would ideally be central point of the panoramic view provided for the onlookers.
Huge progress was made when the insurance companies all agreed they do not believe people falsely claim to have been abused. (see pages 125 – 134transcript day 1).
Given my own personal experience with the charlatan posing as legal council, I was dismayed to see David Greenwood at the seminar. Considering I last received an updated statement of the costs so far incurred in the pursuance of my case some time earlier this year from him, he had no idea who I was.... although I did sack him 3 years ago.
The current redress system was examined on the second day.
Based on an expansion of the proposal I put before the PCC for West Yorkshire, and following the success in Nottingham, I quickly drafted an outline for a redress system involving survivors capable of the level of engagement required with victims coming forward. Help and fund them at local authority level to gain qualifications to then be able to act as a much needed buffer in the “us and them” reaction.
It is my intention to complete the proposal on that redress setup and have it with iiCSA by resumption of parliament in January, following Christmas recess.
One question that was raised was.... How do you quantify the value of the abuse on a child that is already in a disadvantaged position? Those of whom expectation was lower.
Whilst initially outraged by the inference that children in care should have any lower potential than the next person, that the removal of parent(s) in favour of legislative procedure should manifest itself as a lowering of intellectual interaction capabilities.... I managed to compose myself and presented the comparison of 'One girl in a home at same time as me, in grammar school, abused before care but not during her time there, went to University, became an accountant v's myself, a grammar school student, placed in care, abused in care by my carers, and sat there, in the seminar, never allowed to even sit my GCSE's by the CHE I ended up in.'
I will once again state my request for my name to be used instead of Core Participant or Member of the Public, in the transcript of the sessions. I would also repeat my request for lines 7 & 8 page 193, Day 2 transcript, to be struck from the record. Thank you.
Over the course of the two days, I felt we were treated with increasing levels of respect by the panel. I would like to think our opinions and comments were taken on board by everyone in attendance, and those watching the live stream on both days.
Any and all feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
I would like to extend my interest in attending the planned part 2 of the seminar in early 2017, as a continuation of this session.
Bryn Alyn Survivors
Skircoat Lodge Survivors
Core Participant F25