On the 28th September at an Islington Council Executive meeting, I received an apology from Islington Council Leader, Richard Watts. I was deeply moved by this because, after 27 years of campaigning, it was important for me to hear his acknowledgement of the crimes committed against children whilst in the care of Islington Council from the 70s to the 90s. This was the very first time that I had spoken at a council meeting. It was the first time I had not felt vilified by council officials. A former Islington social worker told the council that I had been truly scapegoated by managers at the time who had never been called to account.
I began to reflect about why I had spent so many years of my life alongside police, journalists, researchers and survivors, investigating the historic abuse of Islington children and yet there had been so little involvement or even concern from the vast majority of my former social work colleagues. I also thought much about when I was employed in Islington, first in 1973 and later in 1986, because I was one of the social workers who placed children into the homes where they were abused. I had imagined and assumed that the systems were safe. I still do not understand fully how or why I slowly began to take an unchartered leap into the child’s world of horrors, to see through the pretence, recognise some of the carers as abusers and the managers who were complicit but also have the confidence to think I could do something about it.