Clarity on Lambeth Council failings for child abuse survivors


IISCA and the future of child abuse prevention in England and Wales.

Heartbreakingly, thousands of children fall victim to abuse every year and the compensation that some receive is inadequate to the pain they have experienced. IICSA (the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) was founded to identify where organisations have failed to adequately protect the children they were responsible for.

The aim of IICSA is not to retrieve compensation for the survivors, although many will receive some form of financial settlement, but clarify organisational failings and make recommendations in order to safeguard and protect children in the future.

IICSA

The inquiry was set up following the death of TV presenter Jimmy Savile, after hundreds of people came forward to say he had abused them as children. This shone a light on sexual assault that occurs in schools, children’s homes and at NHS sites.

The inquiry, expected to take 5 years, has already published an interim report with 18 recommendations including formal apologies from institutions involved in child migration programmes, establishing a financial redress scheme for former child migrants, better management of child migrant records and changes to automatically rejecting claims from CICA based on criminal record. The inquiry's public hearings consist of 14 separate investigations, which are expected to conclude in July 2020.

The Lambeth council hearing of the IICSA inquiry is the last to take place on the 29th of June and is particularly harrowing. The hearing is due to last from 29th June to 31st July 2020.

Lambeth Council child abuse

Verisona Law first became involved with the inquiry when acting for clients to apply for the Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme.

Quite rightly so, many applicants felt that monetary compensation was not enough, they wanted justice and closure. As historic abuse specialists, Verisona Law was aware of the IICSA inquiry, and were conscious that this would give clients the opportunity to have an active voice in the inquiry.

Their experiences would be crucial to Lambeth Council witnesses and police witnesses being cross examined for the national inquiry and would help to highlight specific failings relevant to their cases. In turn this would allow the inquiry to make recommendations, ensuring that children do not suffer in the same way again, or have their disclosures of serious abuse unjustly ignored.

Support and representation

Verisona Law continues to support the survivors in their fight for justice. Pushing for acknowledgement by the police and Lambeth council regarding past failings to protect the children they were responsible for. We are currently representing 6 core participants in the Lambeth Council strand of the inquiry and have already recovered approximately £1.2m in compensation for survivors of Lambeth Children’s home.

The disclosure of documents for the inquiry has already given specific insight into the terrible extent of Lambeth’s Council’s failings, revealing a scale of negligence (and potentially alleged corruption) that has affected thousands of vulnerable children, at a time when they were supposed to be receiving protection and nurture.

The extent of political and central government involvement causing further harm to children is also starting to be revealed. Verisona Law has not held back in the quest for accountability, and have requested the inquiry to submit the type of questions to corporate witnesses that will put real pressure on the council and police to be held responsible for their past failings and to uncover the extent of such failings.

Acknowledgement also needs to be given to the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA), who published multiple reports setting out the testimonies and evidence of survivors relating to the abuse that occurred, which has further facilitated the inquiry’s proper consideration on the allegations of executive level  cover-ups and potential police collusion. Verisona Law has worked closely with SOSA to ensure that the survivors are supported throughout the process.

Completed IICSA investigations

Current investigations which remain ongoing

Moving forward

There will be questions and possibly clarity as to who was leaning on who, whether children were being placed in unsuitable placements for backhanders, whether police checks on carers were being purposely ignored, the extent of a pornography ring on council premises, who (if anyone) was covering up the serious abuse of these vulnerable children and the level of integration of a paedophile network within Lambeth homes.

There are allegations about abuse going on in Lambeth Council properties; allegations against council employees, police officers and the extent of involvement by politicians, including potential interference in lower level multiple police operations from a higher level. The destruction of the lives of these vulnerable children not being forgotten is at the heart of what the inquiry is trying to achieve to ensure safeguards and recommendations to protect children for the future can be made.

Keeping you informed

We will be monitoring the inquiry closely and providing updates on a regular basis. We hope that the inquiry will result in dramatic changes for organisations that are responsible for the health and welfare of children and that those involved in previous abuse are brought to justice.

If you’d like to discuss the inquiry or any other matters regarding historic abuse, then please don’t hesitate to contact Verisona Law on 02392 98 1000.

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