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Islington kids' home scandal whistleblower condemns Boris Johnson's 'disgraceful' child abuse investigation comments

PUBLISHED: 17:42 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 21 March 2019

Boris Johnson speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

Boris Johnson speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The original whistleblower on Islington’s kids’ home scandal has condemned Boris Johnson’s “disgraceful” assertion that investigating historic child abuse is a waste of resources.

Islington child abuse scandal at Care Homes in the 1970's and 80's. Dr Liz DaviesIslington child abuse scandal at Care Homes in the 1970's and 80's. Dr Liz Davies

Social worker Dr Liz Davies couldn’t believe her ears when the former foreign secretary dismissed horrific crimes as “malarkey” during an LBC radio phone-in interview last week.

The erstwhile foreign secretary, infamous for his bombastic outbursts, complained an “awful lot of money and police resources” is being “spaffed up the wall on some investigation into historic child sexual abuse”.

His comments were seemingly in reference to the independent investigation established after the paedophilia of Jimmy Savile came to light.

Dr Davies exposed the devastating scale of child abuse in Islington’s children’s home in a 1992 interview with the Evening Standard.

She today told the Gazette Mr Johnson’s remarks were “horrendous and an absolute disgrace”.

Dr Davies added: “He is lying though, isn’t he? He doesn’t care at all about it.

“This isn’t about money. How can it be? It’s people’s lives. Whole childhoods were lost.”

She recounted a recent meeting with a survivor of care home abuse. He’d just got his own home at the age of 48.

“He didn’t have any housing when he left care,” she said.

“He fought and fought and sofa surfed all those years. How do you make up for that?”

She pointed out that each survivor is individual, and many are able to salvage functional lives and families.

But she cited studies suggesting a high percentage of abused children end up in prison, addicted to drugs or homeless as adults.

As such, she said, investment in trauma services and investigation into historic abuse is not only a moral duty, but has long-term financial merit for the state.

Children in Islington’s care were subjected to unthinkable physical and mental abuse from the 1970s to the 1990s.

The council leader Richard Watts apologised to survivors on behalf of the town hall in November 2017.

The Islington Survivors Network, founded by Dr Davies, has been lobbying the council for compensation for those abused while in Islington’s care.

There are ongoing talks about a redress scheme.

The council has urged survivors from the borough to email survivorsupport@islington.gov.uk

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