Editor’s comment: I hope stories will give hope to survivors

Eugene Fitzpatrick

Eugene Fitzpatrick - Credit: Archant

The story of what vicar Eugene Fitzpatrick did to two children is appalling. So too are the testimonies in the final part of our series on the Islington kids’ homes scandal.

I can only hope that Fitzpatrick’s conviction, and the jailing of rapist John Brady after so many years), offers hope to those who are still waiting for justice. Groups like Islington Survivors Network exist to give those who have been through abuse help to tell their stories and to secure prosecutions, however much water has passed under the bridge. We know from speaking to them that the effects of abuse are devastating and do not simply fade with time: many people have seen their adult lives wrecked by what they endured as youngsters.

It is possible that Fitzpatrick had other victims. I hope in publishing his picture, his sentencing and the recollections of a family who knew him, those people – if they exist – will feel confident in coming forward, either to police or to a support group like ISN.

Survivors can help secure justice for each other by speaking out, and may even be able to prevent abuse happening to other people if they do so early enough – but it is absolutely not their responsibility to do so. They have already had trust abused and reluctance to offer it again is understandable. The only responsibility here was that held by their care home workers and priests – responsibilities that were so scandalously neglected. It’s an honour some survivors trust us to print their stories, but I understand others will have many reasons why they cannot or do not want to discuss what happened to them. Their childhoods and, for many, the years that followed were destroyed by what they were put through – and their priority can only be the business of surviving, whatever form that takes.

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