Tag Archive for IICSA

IICSA Accountability and Reparations closing submissions from David Greenwood

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Accountability and Reparations Hearing

November 2018 to December 2018

 

Closing Statement by David Greenwood on behalf of Core Participant Peter Robson

  1. Mr Robson is a survivor physical and sexual abuse at The Stanhope Castle School, having been sent there at the age of 11. He describes it as a brutal place which has left him hating himself and as we saw from his evidence has left him with great difficulties in relating to others. He has diminished life chances, received a poor education and is deserving of compensation. He gave evidence to the police after 2013 but was told that his abuser could not be traced. He was advised by the police to seek Criminal Injuries Compensation and did so when he became aware of this Inquiry and was advised to do so by Howe & Co. His Criminal Injuries Compensation Application has been refused and it is only after a review that he has recently been awarded Criminal Injuries Compensation.
  2. He has been advised on a potential Civil Claim but at present feels that the process would be so long, complicated and arduous that he does not wish to put himself through it.
  3. Quite apart from apologies and bringing abusers and those who have enabled them to account this Inquiry has revealed serious deficiencies with our compensation system.
  4. Criminal Compensation Orders through the Criminal Courts are rarely ordered by Judges.
  5. Criminal Injuries Compensation is difficult to access. Form filling puts off the uneducated. Lawyers take a cut. Time limits are usually invoked by the Criminal Injuries Compensation. Convictions (often brought about as a result of responses to abuse and bad treatment in childhood) are used to defeat applications. Review and Appeal procedures are complicated and time limited. There is no integrated system of support. There is no free advice service.
  6. Civil Compensation are inherently difficult. Changes to the Law in 2013 mean that Lawyers again take a cut and Legal Aid is usually unavailable. Limitation Laws are interpreted by inexperienced Judges who have absolute discretion. Most Defendants fight cases by using Limitation as a weapon. There have been no moves by Parliament to change the system. Claimants’ credibility is attacked during the exploration by Defendants of prejudice. To even consider that prejudice to a Defendant could outweigh the prejudice to a Claimant survivor of child sex abuse of not being able to bring a claim does claimants a massive injustice. The legal bar on limitation should be scrapped. It has caused substantial confusion and unnecessary misery. Claims should be decided on whether the abuse occurred. To add further insult psychiatrists unsympathetic to Claimants are deployed to attack Claimants’ credibility.
  7. Success is often dependent on which insurer an institution is insured with. Lambeth, Liverpool, National Children’s Home and Devon Council settled their cases. Conversely RSA rarely settle cases unless they have exhausted all legal avenues.
  8. The process is attritional. Many hear about it like Mr. Robson and decide not to pursue it. Many drop out during the process.
  9. Overall it is a lottery as to which opponent is insured with which insurance company and also a lottery in terms of the attitude of the Defendant. Councils tend to see the justice in recognising that compensating victims should be a priority. Insurers generally don’t There are exceptions such as Ecclesiastical and sometimes Zurich. It should be said that the quality of claimant lawyers also varies.
  10. All this is confusing to claimants. It needs to be simplified. The system is not fair. It needs to be fair
  11. The solution is for the establishment of a scheme which incorporates the following features;
    1. The eligibility for compensation is decided on the balance of probabilities.
    2. Time limits will not be in play.
    3. Damages are assessed broadly, taking into account how life chances have been affected.
    4. Claimants can be signposted to good local support agencies and support can be paid for and provided quickly.
    5. The abuser or the institution will pay for the compensation paid to the Claimant.
    6. Where non-institutional abuse is considered, payments will be underwritten by the Government (these cases falling out of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme).
    7. Lawyers will be paid to advise on cases and help guide Claimants through the process.
    8. There will be an appeals system.
    9. Institutions will be required to consider providing an apology and will be required to make a statement of what steps are now in place to prevent child abuse in their organisation.
    10. The Body will have the power to compel disclosure of evidence.
    11. Claimants will have the option of taking their case through the Civil Courts but without double recovery.
    12. I have put together a draft scheme which will be emailed to the Inquiry Solicitors for distribution.  I hope you will read and consider the draft.
    13. David Greenwood
    14. 12 December 2018

New book on church responses to child sex abuse allegations – Responding Badly by David Greenwood

Click here to see the book cover


All royalties from this book go to the support organisation which helps support and signpost survivors of clergy sex abuse, MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors).

Click here for the link to Responding Badly on Amazon

Numerous isolated examinations of particular clergy child sex abuse cases have been published but this book digs deeper than the narrative and explores the cultures of churches, their internal dynamics and self-protection mechanisms. It isolates failings and suggests positive and achievable solutions ahead of the Independent inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (“IICSA”). This book looks at the issue from an institutional perspective as opposed to the individual case. For the last two decades we have seen countless clergy abuse scandals covered in the news. Year after year there have been clergy in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches prosecuted. Suspected cover-ups have been exposed. Case reviews have taken place yet the UK Government has allowed the churches to continue to govern themselves on safeguarding issues. This book opens up publicly:- • the scale of the problem, • the cost to individuals and society of child sexual abuse (“CSA”), • the obstructive attitude of both churches, • the internal culture of the churches, • the dynamics of power relationships in churches, • The legal and psychological barriers against reporting, • Case studies of cover ups in both churches, • The failures of our criminal and civil justice systems with solutions, • Plans for reform and independent resolution of CSA reports, The state has repeatedly failed to intervene and has allowed religious organisations to police themselves with dire consequences. This has led abusers to feel relatively safe to commit sex crime without being brought to account. Organisations have put their good name before the protection of children. Abusing clergy have been moved between parishes, dioceses, and countries when discovered. The book sets out to demonstrate the effects of abuse, how they have festered and what is needed for the future. The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England are singled out although the power relationships and lack of effective responses apply to almost any institution from which vulnerable individuals from time to time seek help. Decision makers in schools, other religions, social services, caring professions, young offender institutions, and youth movements should look with introspection for parallel bad practice in their organisations. This book sets out some of the issues to be examined by the Inquiry in digestible detail. The book concludes that an entirely independent body should be established to receive and deal with all institutional allegations of CSA, providing uniformity of approach and establishing trust with disaffected survivors. This conclusion and references throughout to the proposed approach being suitable for schools, detention centres, children’s homes and youth groups, broadens the appeal of the book to institutions responsible for children’s’ welfare. Clergy in both churches and those with interest institutions to be examined in the IICSA are likely to be readers. Survivors of Clergy abuse will read with interest.