victim

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I was ready to testify about the abuse I suffered as a child – but I can’t as long as Fiona Woolf chairs the inquiry

Published October 24, 2014 by JS2

Fiona-Woolf

Witnesses are vulnerable, and they need to have complete faith in the system

As someone who suffered child abuse in the children’s home I grew up in during the 1960s and 70s, I saw the Government inquiry into the scandal not just as an opportunity to observe institutions finally being made accountable for their woeful neglect – but also as an opportunity to go before the inquiry and spell out what happened to me.  But as long as Fiona Woolf is in charge I am not prepared to do that.

When, earlier this year, I wrote about what happened to me, I received many messages of support from members of the public, and heart-warmingly, gained support from friends with whom I grew up.  More often than not, they shared the same harrowing experiences.  The child abuse was systematic in my children’s home in Surrey.  From the age of five I was violently attacked by a member of staff and once sexually assaulted by a member of the medical profession.

Even though many of my ‘brothers and sisters’ are now in their late forties and early fifties, they are still trying to come to terms with the atrocious acts inflicted on them when they were at their most vulnerable.  When they reached their adult years, some turned to drink or drugs in an attempt to erase all memory of their suffering.  A number of tortured souls were unable to look after their own children.  A few I know still receive counselling.  What we all have in common is that we have been absolutely failed by every institution that had a care of duty to protect us.  Among this sorry list includes the social services, local councils, government, police forces and the Crown Prosecution Services.

So when Theresa May first stood up in Parliament and announced that there would be an inquiry into historical child abuse, I knew I wanted to testify.

Bearing witness can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience.  I know people who find the prospect of doing so impossible.  And with all this deep-seated hurt, betrayal and anger, it was imperative that the appointed chair of this inquiry could gain the trust of every victim who stood in front of them.  Sufferers have to be confident that they will be granted a fair hearing and that those who played a role in any institution will be questioned and interrogated without bias and favour.

With news emerging concerning the second appointed chair, Fiona Woolf, and her links to Lord Brittan, that fragile confidence has been completely undermined.  It was under Lord Brittan’s watch when he was Home Secretary that a dossier detailing alleged Westminster paedophiles went missing.  Ms Woolf and Lord Brittan, we learn, have swapped polite conversations at home dinners. Ms Woolf has sipped coffee with Lord Brittan’s wife, and they live on the same affluent London street.  They are hardly nervous strangers who have been forced to sit together on a packed bus.

I was one of the few I know who wanted to testify to this inquiry.  I’m not aware or haven’t been told of how I would go about this but it was my intention to relate my experiences to whatever panel sat in front of me.  I will no longer seek to achieve this if Fiona Woolf still remains chair of the inquiry, because of her social ties to Lord Brittan.  She should resign.  What’s more, she shouldn’t cling on to her post to save the credibility of Theresa May. Inspiring confidence in the victims is far more important than that.  I don’t give a damn about ministerial reputations but I care passionately about victims baring their souls.  I urge the Home Secretary to retreat to her office, put the phone off the hook, take out her contacts book, and think again.

Alex Wheatle

Suffolk abuse victim rejects £1,000 compensation sum

Published March 29, 2013 by JS2

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A man who was abused at a Suffolk care home has rejected the ombudsman’s suggestion of £1,000 in compensation.

Lawrence McLean, 38, was abused at the former Four Elms children’s home near Eye where he was placed by Suffolk County Council in 1983.

The Local Government Ombudsman’s report said the council should pay £1,000 and apologise to Mr McLean.

Mr McLean said it was not enough, while the council said it was still in discussions with the ombudsman.

Mr McLean said he was abused by staff at the children’s home at Stonham Parva, which has since closed and is now a different children’s home.

Victor Copperman and Thea Trevelyan, who ran Four Elms, were shot dead in 1987 by a woman who believed her daughter was abused there.

‘Outrage and uncertainty’

The ombudsman previously suggested Mr McLean should be paid £6,500, but the council rejected that figure and instead offered to pay £200.

The ombudsman’s latest report said the county council should pay him £1,000 “for the outrage and uncertainty caused to Mr X [Lawrence McLean] by the council’s actions” of placing him at Four Elms.

The report also said the council “should apologise in writing to Mr X”.

Mr McLean, who claimed the childhood abuse led him into a life of childhood prostitution and crime, said: “I’ve looked at other cases of abuse and some of these people are getting £40,000-70,000 and somebody’s offering £1,000 – I don’t get that.”

A council spokesperson said: “This is still an open case being investigated by the Local Government Ombudsman and we are in active discussion with his office.”

In 2010, the council’s own investigation found there was “a substantial body of recording of the view by professionals that Lawrence McLean had been psychologically and sexually abused during the period of his residence at Four Elms.”

BREAKING NEWS: Former teacher jailed for child sex abuse

Published January 5, 2013 by JS2

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A FORMER schoolteacher has been jailed for using his role as a rugby coach to exploit a teenage boy and subject him to a catalogue of sexual abuse

Keith Ruby was found guilty of 16 sexual offences against the youngster by a jury in December, and today (Fri) a judge has sentenced him to 10 years in jail.

The court had heard that the 36-year-old had met the teenager, who was a promising young rugby player, when he was teaching at the prestigious Sidcot School near Winscombe in 2004.

Ruby developed a relationship with the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when the pupil was 12.

The trigger for the abuse was the victim’s realisation that he was gay, which he shared in confidence with Ruby, who started asking him questions about his sexuality and then began physically molesting him.

The abuse started when the victim was 14 and lasted for about a year. It took place during massage sessions at the victim’s home, in the changing rooms at both Weston and Winscombe rugby clubs and on an overseas rugby trip.

The court was told Ruby, of Biddisham Lane in Biddisham, had worked himself into a position of trust with the victim’s family, who had believed he was giving their son one-on-one sessions to further his development as a rugby player.

Although a police investigation was launched in February 2006 after allegations about the abuse came to light, the final offence occurred after the investigation was launched.

The initial investigation collapsed in July 2006, but a fresh probe was launched in 2011 when the victim told his parents about the catalogue of abuse.

Ruby denied all 20 allegations relating to the victim, but on December 6 the jury at Taunton found him guilty by majority verdict of 11 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child and five counts of penetrative sexual activity with a child.

They found him not guilty of two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13.

The Mercury had been prevented on reporting on the trial and its outcome by a court order, which was lifted this morning.

Ruby was also handed a sexual offences prevention order, forced to sign the sex offences register for life and has been placed on a barring list to prevent him from working with children again in the future.

by Mercury24

Rapist found guilty of preying on teenagers

Published December 14, 2012 by JS2

by Natasha Adkins

A man in his 50s who sexually assaulted four teenage girls was convicted at Reading Crown Court today.

After nearly four days of deliberating, a jury found Brian Austin, of Kingsley Close, Whitley Wood, guilty on eight counts of sexual offences.

These were two counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault, two counts of causing a child to engage in a sexual activity and one count of sexual activity with a child. The offences took place between 1999 and 2005.

During the trial, which started on November 20, the jury heard evidence from four women victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons. They were all from the Reading area and aged 14 and 15 when the attacks took place. Allison Hunter, prosecuting, pointed out during the trial that all the girls were able to describe the same sequence of events.

Austin, 59, invited one 14-year-old victim to his bungalow, where he appeared to have a telephone conversation with a man called Bob, and then propositioned her.

The victim said: “He said if I pretended to be his wife we could make this money and if we were realistic enough we could get a flat screen TV, MP3 player, a mobile phone and a DVD player and I thought ‘ok yeah, wicked

Austin told her they would have to pretend to have sex in his bedroom and a friend of Bob’s would look through the window and, if it was convincing enough, she would get the money and gifts.

The victim said Austin took off his false leg, which he had used since losing his leg in a motorbike accident, and stripped off. She said he then had sex with her and carried out other sex acts on her.

The woman said: “He was such a big bloke I didn’t want to do anything to make the situation worse.

“I would rather him do that than hit me. I didn’t say anything to him, I was in so much shock I just froze.”

Another victim told a similar account of how during a driving lesson with Austin he mentioned a friend and a chance of making some money.

She said: “He said a man wanted to watch us pretend to have sex through the window and would give us money.”

After he raped her the victim said Austin didn’t say anything, he just reattached his false leg and got dressed.

Austin, who was on conditional bail during the trial, has been remanded in custody until sentencing on Friday, February 22.