child protection, child protection investigation, Gisburne House, Islington Survivors Network, Organized Abuse, social work, Survivors, Uncategorized

The horrors of Gisburne House

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Gisburne House was built in Watford, Hertfordshire in 1912 as an industrial school for girls. The photo above is from that era and the other photo is from a World in Action (1977) programme . In 2017, Islington Council officials have no knowledge of Gisburne House and no documentation of any kind about it. When we ask them to check names of staff alleged to be abusive, it seems these staff have vanished into thin air.  It is as if all corporate memory of 30 years, and hundreds of childrens lives, has been erased.

Not of course in the minds of the survivors who are coming forward to Islington Survivors Network (ISN) to tell of their experiences during the 70s and 80s. They describe how they still cannot sleep  because of the flashbacks and in the daytime they are traumatised by all kinds of smells, situations and events which trigger memories of sexual crimes, emotional devastation and extreme violence. They show us the physical signs of long-ago beatings, have intense concern about child victims of cruelty which they witnessed and question why seemingly nice social workers did not hear their repeated cries for help.  After years of being on constant high alert,  trying to protect themselves and others from abuse, I always ask – ‘Is there anywhere now where you feel safe?’ After a long pause, even from those who now have settled relationships and very supportive, loving families,  the answer is generally ‘No’.  They now seek justice and redress. Continue reading

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child protection, child protection investigation, Islington Survivors Network, Organized Abuse, Sandy Marks, Survivors, Uncategorized, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015

Sandy Marks: In 2014 I asked for a dialogue

This letter was emailed in 2014 to Sandy Marks, former Chair of Islington Social Services Committee and Mayor, via the Head of Services and Consultancy of  Disability Action in Islington  who had agreed to forward it to her as she was Chair of the charity. The content is self-explanatory and asks her to discuss with me her perspective on the Islington child abuse scandal.  In the absence of confirmation, it is possible she did not receive it. Following the Islington Gazette article, 11th May 2017,  I thought it would be of wider interest.  See Islington Survivors Network website for further context. Continue reading

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child protection, IICSA, Investigative Interviewing, Islington Survivors Network, Operation Hydrant, Organized Abuse, prisoners, Survivors, Truth Project, Uncategorized

Survivors in prison – IICSA ‘Truth’ Project may put them at risk

A recent initiative for the so called ‘Truth’ Project to ask prisoners to share their experiences of child sexual abuse with facilitators from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) raises many questions and concerns for me.  I say ‘so called’ because the project includes no published criteria or methods for testing the accounts so ‘Listening to Survivors Project’ would be a far more accurate title. Continue reading

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Aston Hall, child protection investigation, Cleveland Inquiry, East Midlands Survivors, Goddard, Haut de la Garenne, IICSA, Investigative Interviewing, Islington Survivors Network, Kendall House, Morris Fraser, Organized Abuse, Shirley Oaks Survivors, Truth Project, Uncategorized, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015

‘Goodbye’ Goddard though I never said ‘Hello’

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(East Midlands Survivors logo)

Following the very sudden, unexpected and unexplained resignation of Justice Lowell Goddard as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) , I have been thinking about comments on social media which have suggested that she refused to address the Islington child abuse scandal in the Inquiry. To put the record straight, she did not refuse because neither I nor the Islington Survivors Network asked her. Continue reading

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children's rights, Frontline, Organized Abuse, social work education, social work privatisation, Uncategorized

Doublespeak and Frontline

On 31st January 2013, I attended a promotion meeting for Frontline – a charity providing social work education. By then I had been a senior social work lecturer for over 10 years, was qualified in teaching Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, had written widely on the subject, been external examiner for two University social work programmes and had designed, delivered and evaluated modules in every aspect of children’s social work. In other words, I thought I knew a more than little about the job of teaching social work students to become committed, effective practitioners. As I arrived at the event, held at the prestigious building of the Boston Consulting Group in London’s Manchester Square, I thought I was at the wrong venue, a feeling exacerbated by the predominance of young white men in suits contrasting significantly with the typical motley audience of academics like myself. I remember deciding that my task for the morning was to persuade Boston Consulting Group to rethink their investment in this educational project … I could but try and stem the ravaging tide of privatisation of social work education! Continue reading

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Organized Abuse

Protecting children from organised sexual crime.

The Metropolitan Police Bexley project, in 1984, enabled police and social workers to train and work together in the investigation of child abuse. This led to specialist workers commonly sharing offices, jointly interviewing, acting to protect children and bringing perpetrators to justice. Joined-up, child-centred practice was developed with a crucial sharing of expertise, strong development of trust and close inter-professional communication. This practice went beyond abuse within the family to include the investigation of organised networks of crime against children.  Continue reading

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