The Telford abuse scandal devastated the lives of many, so it’s no surprise that those who feel services did not do enough are calling for an inquiry to be held. The aim of the inquiry will be to revisit evidence and victim testimony to see if more could have been done, and if anything else was missed.
The Truth Project
Following wide spread demand for police to re-examine the abhorrent sexual child abuse that occurred in Telford, a wide-ranging enquiry has been called for to re-analyse evidence and victim testimony.
In response to this public outcry, The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) will launch an initiative called the Truth Project, which will allow victims in the Shropshire town to speak in confidence with staff members about their ordeal.
Alexis Jay, chair of the inquiry, said: “Child sexual abuse can take many different forms and we want to hear from as many victims and survivors as possible.”
It is also worth noting however that, whilst IISCA can act, there is no sign that it will be adding a new Module to the already full agenda of investigations that it is to pursue.
That being said, the sooner an independent inquiry is set up the sooner the truth over how these cases of sexual exploitation were able to occur without the police or local authority being even remotely aware.
The Official Response
A local MP continues to urge the council to convene the inquiry in order to get the ball rolling, however councillors insist that the inquiry must be independent of the local authority, stating the Home Office would be better suited to tackle to the issue.
The Home Office has, at this moment in time, refused to head up the inquiry. The council will subsequently hold a debate on a Conservative motion to mount an inquiry.
Many police officers and social workers have also stated that the media may be sensationalising the story, claiming that media outlets were exaggerating events by reporting on past occurrences as though they were current.
The public, however, does not share this view, with some accusing certain media outlets of ignoring the level of severity in the Telford scandal. Accusations were also made that journalists were shying away from the scandal because most of the victims were white girls, with the perpetrators who faced justice being men of Pakistani background.
The refusal by the Home Office to hold an independent inquiry can only serve to increase the anger felt by members of the public, and certainly by the victims. Should there be no independent inquiry, it is likely the victims will be encouraged to take civil action against the Local Authority for failing to protect them.
“The reluctance of the Home Office revolves around the cost of holding an inquiry rather than the need. Telford runs the risk of falling between various stools, for instance if Local Authority fails to set up an inquiry, IICSA is too busy, or if the Home Office pass off responsibility to the IICSA.”
“While there is precedent for different bodies attempting to set up an independent style of inquiry using an experienced QC, they would not have sufficient independence that the Home Office would fulfil.”
“Whilst an extension of the Truth Project to Shropshire is laudable, it does not fulfil the need for an independent examination of the events from the point of view of the failings of institutions invested with the responsibility of protecting children.”
“It seems that the need to support the victims involved is being clouded by arguments between the police and the media, which does not give the survivors the trust they need to have, and will have lost, in authority.”
Simpson Millar Are Here To Help You
If you or your child have suffered from abuse in the past, or perhaps feel like you were not properly protected by your local council, then contact Simpson Millar today.
Being sexually abused is a harrowing experience that can cause both physical and mental damage. It is for this exact reason that you should speak out. While justice may have already been served, you could be entitled to more.
Our specialist Abuse Claims team have an excellent record, and can talk you through the process every step of the way. Get in touch today, either using our freephone line 0800 260 5002, or by using our online enquiry form.