Editor’s comment: Investigating abuse is not a waste of cash

Islington child abuse scandal at Care Homes in the 1970's and 80's. Dr Liz Davies. Picture: KEN MEAR

Islington child abuse scandal at Care Homes in the 1970's and 80's. Dr Liz Davies. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

I have little doubt that Boris Johnson’s ignorant, offensive remarks about historic sex abuse cases would have ended the career of a less bombastic, blustering politician.

But Mr Johnson, masking his vile behaviour as gaffes and straight talk, has made a career out of saying stupid things and surviving to tell the tale.

Eighteen months ago I heard, at the town hall, testimony from a room full of victims and survivors who had been abused at Islington-run care homes in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Earlier that year, we had published a number of interviews detailing some of these people’s experiences and the often devastating impact on their lives.

And decades after the horrors they’d experienced in those institutions, it was clear many were battling to get by: inadequate housing, too little money, urgent unaddressed health needs, severe distrust of people and an inability to build meaningful relationships, even suicide attempts.

Dr Liz Davies points out that by no means do all the survivors and victims share these problems, but they are frequent. And one thing common to all those we met and spoke to is the thirst for justice – to know they have been listened to, that someone in authority gives a damn about what happened to them and that the right people will be properly held accountable.

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So no, Boris, investigations into historic child abuse do not represent money being “spaffed up the wall” – and, by the way, what a disgusting turn of phrase to use when talking about the physical and sexual abuse of children. They are the very least public bodies can do in recognition of what took place on their watch. No value can be put on justice. You, who once lived in Islington, should know that.

Time is ticking for the council to come up with a redress scheme that offers the survivors and victims a better future.

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