By Mickey Summers
Monday Sept 28th 2015, PRESS RELEASE
Survivors from the Nottinghamshire Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry group met with representatives of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse established under Judge Goddard to examine the extent to which state and non state institutions and authorities failed in their duty to protect children from harm. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how survivors were to be central in the outcomes of the Goddard Inquiry, to brief the central team on the landscape in Nottinghamshire and survivors concerns of the continued obstruction and deceptiveness of the authorities in seeking to minimise their responsibilities of decades of abuse of Children, and to establish the boundaries of the national inquiry with the possibility of a more specific local inquiry.
Survivors attending the meeting were able to air their general concerns with the conduct of the police operations Daybreak and Xeres which has still to see any prosecutions after 5 years of investigations despite an unprecedented level of survivors coming forward to give evidence, and their concerns with the apparent unwillingness of the City and Council authorities to engage survivors and opening themselves to public scrutiny with an independent local inquiry.
The discussions with the Goddard team, necessarily broad as they move forward, clearly gave much confidence to the survivors group of the determination of Goddard not only to deliver a cathartic experience and allow survivors to tell of their experiences, not only that Goddard was determined to ensure all necessary lessons are learnt and recommendations made to ensure that the institutional abuse of children can never again happen, but also that where there is evidence of failure by those that were supposed to protect the children, that they too will be exposed and bought to account.
In terms of the necessity of a local inquiry, it became clear that if Nottingham were to be selected as a ‘case study’ then there would be no need for anyone else to conduct alternative inquiries, as they were confident that the established lines of Inquiry would deliver the exposure here in Nottingham that survivors and whistleblowers have been seeking to achieve, and indeed the architecture of that local dimension to the inquisitorial aspects of Goddard could be used as the template for other areas considered for ‘case study’ status such as Islington.
There is clearly more to do, but survivors left the meeting knowing that Goddard will get to the truth and were prepared to listen to survivors. It is expected that greater clarity of the proposed regional truth sessions that will allow survivors to tell their stories will come late autumn, along with the confirmation or otherwise that Nottingham will be a case study and the mechanics of how that will operate.