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Posted on: October 5, 2018

The Independent Investigation into Child Sex Abuse has commenced hearing evidence in the Nottinghamshire Councils phase of the investigations.

This phase of the National Inquiry which has been set up to investigate child abuse opened at the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in Nottingham on Monday 1st October 2018. Opening statements were made by lawyers on behalf of the many victims and survivors who are assisting the Inquiry by providing evidence on their experiences of sexual abuse whilst in the care of the Nottinghamshire Councils and their experiences of making disclosures either at the time or later in life, and the response from the institutions (such as the Councils and the Police). The Inquiry will also hear evidence and consider the reasons why some of the victims and survivors could not make disclosures at the time, or later in life.

UPPAL TAYLOR SOLICITORS represent 34 victim/ survivor core participants in the Inquiry. Their solicitor, Christoper Ratcliffe, said;

“There are many individuals and organisations involved in this Inquiry, but the most important people are the victims and survivors who have come forward to provide evidence of their experiences. Those involved in the Inquiry represent only a small number of the people who have complained of child sexual abuse. Those who have complained represent only a small number of the total people who have been affected by childhood sexual abuse whilst in the care of the Nottinghamshire Councils. Those victims and survivors involved in this Inquiry speak for them all and the Inquiry must hear from them all”

The barristers instructed on behalf of those represented by Uppal Taylor are Mr Stephen Simblet and Miss Laura Profumo, both of Garden Court Chambers.

Mr Simblet addressed the Inquiry on the difficult, yet important, task faced by the Inquiry in considering the evidence and making recommendations for the future protection of children. He said the Inquiry must not let the voice of the survivors be drowned out by the voice of the Institutions and that there is a huge weight of evidence of sexual abuse. This was:

(a) NOT abuse committed against one individual. There was evidence from a significant number of survivors and those who have come forward were only the “tip of the iceberg”. Many more children had passed through the Nottingham care system at the relevant times, and it is likely that many who were abused have not come forward.

(b) NOT abuse perpetrated by one individual. Allegations of abuse had been made against a significant number of Council employees, including residential social workers, and others that the Council was responsible for, such as foster parents.

(c) The evidence presented shows that abuse had occurred from the 1960s through to the mid-2000s. and shows abuse in many of the residential children’s homes in Nottingham and a significant number of foster homes across the County.

(d) The Inquiry will hear about situations in which more than one carer had abused a child at the same time and where other carers had turned a blind eye to abuse. Complaints had been made to social workers and the Police, but those complaints were ignored or not properly investigated. Some of the survivors could not make complaints at the time due to various reasons, but including fear of their abuser, fear of not being believed and fear that things may get worse.

Mr Simblet pointed out that those institutional witnesses responsible for the system may have reason not to be candid about true events or fully to record what was happening, and the policy documentation which evidenced how things should be, not how they were.

He added, the evidence of the survivors submitted to the Inquiry sets out poignantly their experiences of abuse, the circumstances in which that abuse occurred, the barriers that presented themselves to them making disclosures and the long-standing impact upon themselves, and their families, of events that happened so many years ago.

Mr Simblet invited the Inquiry to always bear in mind, that whilst they could not change someone’s past, they could change someone’s future.

The Inquiry continues.

UPPAL TAYLOR SOLICITORS are specialist child abuse solicitors. If you wish to speak with a solicitor in the strictest of confidence please call 0115 982 0770 or complete our confidential online Inquiry form.

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