Abuse victim: Savile inquiry must be independent of Islington Council
10:14 10 April 2014
An inquiry into allegations of Jimmy Savile abusing children at an Islington care home must be independent of the town hall, an abuse victim has claimed.
Demetrious Panton, 46, was sexually abused by convicted paedophile Bernie Bain at a Highbury children’s home in the 1970s and has warned that others who are yet to tell their story will not come forward unless Islington Council distances itself from the investigation.
Mr Panton, who first reported the abuse in 1979, also says that others abused in the 70s and 80s are still in the process of seeking recognition from the council, and claimed workers who were in some way involved in covering up abuse may still be in the system today.
Last month, Education Secretary Michael Gove asked Islington Council to investigate claims that Savile had abused children at a care home.
Mr Panton, a lawyer, said: “The inquiry must be independent of Islington Council. The integrity of the process is going to be key to securing the information and encouraging people to come forward and get closure, once and for all.
“I’m a witness for an individual taking Islington Council to court for abuse they suffered in the 70s. In 1979, 1988 and 1994 I named them as someone who was abused by Bain.”
Despite Mr Panton coming forward in 1979 it wasn’t until 1996 that the council acknowledged that he wasn’t the only victim. “There are also individuals with more credible evidence that have not come forward,” he said.
Dr Liz Davies, a reader in child protection at London Metropolitan University and a social worker who first reported concerns to her superiors in the 1980s, said: “When I went before the inquiry in 1994 I gave the names of 61 children I believed were abused. None of them had been recorded.’’
Islington Council has been instructed to carry out the investigation in the as-yet unnamed care home.
A council spokesman said: “Eleanor Schooling, the council’s director of children’s services has been asked by the Department for Education to oversee this investigation. She will appoint an experienced, independent professional from outside the council to lead it.
“Our investigation will follow the clear and detailed guidance and we will then submit a draft report to Lucy Scott-Moncrieff who has been appointed by the DfE to provide the Secretary of State for Education with assurance that all investigations are robust and thorough.”
“Elected members are never involved in any individual child protection investigations, and this is no different.”