People’s Tribunal on Child Sex Abuse raises more questions than it answers

We’d heard that the ominously named People’s Tribunal on UK Child Sex Abuse had recently issued its report following a year-long ‘unofficial inquiry’. Not that ‘official inquiries’ are always the best way forward, but it strikes us that this project could have some very troubling implications indeed.

Perhaps we’re a bit jaundiced after a year spent fighting trumped-up and entirely unbelievable allegations of ‘Satanic ritual abuse’ of children and infants, but reading the People’s Tribunal report gave us cause for pause. According to a Press Association report in the Daily Mail:

The report of the UK Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal blamed “a series of institutional failings” for preventing the reporting of abuse, and claimed that there were “clear links” between children left vulnerable as a result and “predatory abuse on an organised scale“.

“Predatory abuse on an organised scale” seems to us to imply that hundreds, perhaps thousands of child sex abuse survivors were interviewed, their cases investigated thoroughly, and their experiences collated in some sort of database.

Nope.

The People’s Tribunal was set up in 2014 on the initiative of survivors and their supporters, and has heard the testimonies of 20 people about their experience of sexual abuse, as well as taking evidence from expert witnesses.

Twenty people. Hardly a representative population sample. Granted, some fine qualitative research has been done with fewer than 20 respondents…but on reading over the report, we’re not seeing much evidence that this falls into that category.

The report contains this extraordinary account:

Z86 was sexually abused by his father from infancy, and from about the age of two years his mother began to take him to other houses (‘mansions’) where he was raped both anally and orally by elderly upper-class men. His father also took him to various holiday camps, where he was swapped with other children for abuse by a group of fathers. His father continued to abuse him into his 20s.

At the age of four, Z86 was taken to his GP’s surgery for ‘inculations’ and ‘woke to find himself’ at a nearby defence establishment. He was later taken to the same place via his Sunday school, with other children. Z86 describes children being kept in cages, tortured with electric shocks, deprived of any comfort or proper food, and eventually be ‘conditioned’ or trained to abuse and hurt other children. He believes that the training was to prepare him for child prostitution. From a newspaper photograph Z86 recognized one adult who he remembers being present on several occasions at this place.

At the age of eight, Z86 was taken abroad as part of a large extended family group where he was again abused. The abuse included sex with animals, gang rape and being used to produce child pornography. On returning to the UK he was again taken repeatedly to the defence establishment for further serious abuse. He was injected with unknown substances and given other drugs in drinks. He suspects that these were dissociative drugs, because they made him lose awareness of time and place.

As he became older he was also ‘directed’ to attend monthly ritual abuse bonfires. He was instructed for instance, to go to a particular rendez-vous at night. He recognized adults there, respected professionals, people from his local community and from schools and church groups. The activities of this group included satanic rituals and ritual murder.

As a teenager he was directed to go to particular places in London. Z86 gives details of the activities carried out there: he says that he had to wear a uniform, and he names his own ‘clients’, VIPs and other public figures.

Z86 has severe mental health problems, being diagnosed as having depression, anxiety, PTSD, and dissociative personality disorder. Since he became an adult he has received effective therapeutic help. With the support of his therapist he gave a police video interview in 2011, after which his father was arrested. Although the police wished to pursue this, the CPS decided no charges could be brought.

He then decided to try to hide his identity, changing his name and moving to another part of the country. He has received death threats and attempts to harm him, and believes that several of his friends and associates have been attacked or murdered by their former abusers. Z86 now lives abroad. Since moving to a safer situation, he has been able to talk about the organized aspects of his abuse to his therapist and to a police officer he trusts.

We are not in a position to judge whether this story is true, in whole or in part. As Richard Bartholomew points out in his excellent blog:

The account given above is so vague as to be impossible to prove or disprove, but even with the best will in the world it is impossible to comply with the popular mantra that we must always “believe the victim”. How many “VIP” adults were part of this conspiracy? How many soldiers knew about it? Where are all the other victims? How did the whole thing escape any media or police interest? Was everyone at the “defence establishment” in on it? If not, why did no one else suspect? Why were Z86’s friends killed, yet he has only been threatened? And so on. These are serious difficulties.

As Mr Bartholomew points out, we know nothing about the therapist involved in this case. Is he or she an advocate of SRA?

And perhaps more important, how long has Z86 had these memories? Has he always recalled having been raped by multiple adults, including his own parents? Or are these ‘recovered memories’?

While the report states that Z86’s father was arrested based on his accusation, it does not say why the CPS felt the case would not hold up in court. As we say, so many questions.

The conclusions of the report are characteristically vague:

UKCSAPT-1 2016-03-08 UKCSAPT-2 2016-03-08 UKCSAPT-3 2016-03-08

There are multiple none-too-subtle hints as to how this ‘People’s Tribunal’ would like to see child sexual abuse addressed in law: recommendation (d) suggests that even if a victim’s story is incoherent, they ought to be able to make a police report—when in fact, police reports must necessarily contain enough detail and internal consistency to be properly investigated. Recommendation (e) extends this concept, stating that accusations may remain anonymous. This flies in the face of one of the fundamental principles of justice, the right of the accused to face his or her accuser.

Recommendation (f) would remove the decision to end an investigation from the police, and place it in the hands of an outside body; this would mean that police could be forced to continue pointless investigations into incoherent allegations by anonymous accusers, until some outside body permitted them to stop.

And recommendation (i) suggests that training about the effects of undisclosed sexual abuse be provided to police and judiciary. In other words, where sexual abuse hasn’t been disclosed, police should now be sniffing it out.

All of this sounds like a recipe for a witch-hunt of massive proportions, in which the rights of the accused will be summarily trampled, and no one will be safe from the sudden pointed finger, or the dreaded accusation, “Paedophile! Paedophile!

Witch_Burning

36 thoughts on “People’s Tribunal on Child Sex Abuse raises more questions than it answers

  1. Always knew this was going to be, well excuse the term, a giant wank. Why a well known QC decided to hitch his name to it is bizarre but then some people will do anything for publicity.

    I didn’t actually think it would descend into an outlet for Satanic fantasies but I guess we should have expected that. Blind Freddie could have seen that without a legal structure and the legal protections that comes with such inquiries as Justice Goddard’s there was always going to be little revealed, just the usual of what can we read on the internet in the conspiracy sector. Perhaps the Barrister’s role was to ensure people weren’t libelled.

    The dangers of course is that the Truther movement will seize upon it as proof of their claims and when Goddard does not include the wackier parts of it (it’s always VIPs isn’t it? Never the electrician who lives next door) they will be able to scream cover-up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I find it disturbing that we seem to be heading into another satanic panic.

      In fact I do believe that those who report having endured sexual abuse should be taken seriously, and their cases investigated, but I don’t believe that every person who makes a claim should be believed willy-nilly. And if a belief in SRA becomes the prevailing (or even a strong) trend amongst social workers and therapists, I can predict that we’ll be in for another witch-hunt era, based on nothing but unsubstantiated allegations.

      Essentially, I see this report setting the stage for many more Hoaxteads, of varying size and degree.

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  2. A quick trawl on the internet today finds this in one of the Belinda Mckenzie / Sabine pages

    http://www.theknightfoundation.org.uk/home/donate/

    Thank you for helping The Knight Foundation’s Child & Family protection work, including the Association of McKenzie Friends. Your donation will help meet the expenses of our volunteers dedicated to the service of families in difficulties and working to bring about a world free of child abuse. With enough help from the public we can do it!
    It’s all the same work basically but if you’d prefer to donate to one of our Affiliates, Children Screaming to be Heard or The Haigh Project choose it from drop down list.
    Thank you for donating.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah yes, the begging bowl again. It would be interesting to do a tour of their various blogs and websites, and check out their begging pitches. A thought for a future post, perhaps.🙂

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  3. On the children screaming to be heard website they are also (STILL) asking for donations. They claim on the website to be a registered charity.

    They WERE, but not anymore

    From the Charity commission http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?subid=0&regid=1144679

    This charity was registered on 16 Nov 2011, It was removed from the register on 03 Dec 2015

    03 December 2015 Removed – CEASED TO EXIST
    16 November 2011 Registered

    So why is it still seeking donations?

    From the Action Fraud Website:

    http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud_protection/charity_fraud

    Charity donation fraud

    Charity donation fraud is when fake charities play on your sympathy by asking you to make a donation to a worthy cause.

    Charity donation frauds ask you to make a donation to a group of people or a particular cause. In many cases, the donation request is linked to a high-profile event, such as an earthquake.

    Either the charity that the fraudster has asked you to donate to doesn’t exist, or they are misusing the name of a genuine, often well-known, charity and pocketing your money.

    If you donate through a website, the fraudsters may record your credit or bank account details and use them to make purchases through your account.

    If you’re asked to call a phone number, it could be a premium rate number. This means the fraudsters will pocket even more of your money on top of your donation.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Just had an email from the Charity Commission
      “Thank you for your email.

      Children Screaming to be Heard was, up until 3 December 2015, registered with the Charity Commission under the number 1144679. It was also registered as a charitable company at Companies House under the number 07778714. We note however that the company was dissolved on 12 January 2016.

      It is unclear why Children Screaming to be Heard still appears to be active and why it still refers to itself as a registered charity. We propose therefore to contact the organisation to establish the current situation and to remind the trustees that they must not refer to the organisation as a registered charity.

      The fact that this organisation has been removed from our Register does not necessarily mean that it can no longer operate however; it cannot refer to itself as a registered charity.

      Many people assume all charities need to register with us, or think that a registered charity number is necessary to carry out voluntary work. However, in the UK today there are probably over 500,000 voluntary organisations but fewer than 190,000 of these are registered charities. The fact that an organisation may refer to itself as a charity is not therefore always a problem – provided it does not refer to itself as a registered charity.

      Once we have made contact with the organisation we will establish whether or not any further action is necessary on our part.”

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  4. What’s all this cr@p? Have I just been teleported back to the 1980s?

    When somebody who has “severe mental health problems” and is clearly barking mad starts baying at the Moon and telling you complete and utter b0ll0cks, you maybe should start to question their claims.

    We should never go back to a time when children’s fantasy stories automatically get people thrown into jail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely agree, Anon. I’m very surprised that this thing has made the news, and sincerely hope it won’t go any further. Much as I believe in rights for the abused, and the absolute need to put a stop to child abuse in all its forms, this is not a step forward.

      It’s a very ill-conceived move back to an era no one should wish to repeat.

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  5. It seems a good rule of the thumb that any source that is abundant on claims such as Z86 but lacking in tangible evidence such as convictions is to treated with skeptical caution. Anyone can make up an allegation or story, but does it hold up to examination and the demand for evidence?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The implication of the report is that Z86 suffers mental illness as the result of sexual abuse. My conclusion is that Z86’s memories of sexual abuse are the result of mental illness.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As far as I can see there are two main purposes of this “Tribunal”. One is for deluded wannabe do-gooders to feel like heroes. The other is to encourage damaged people to come forward with all kinds of delusional nonsense so that the ambulance-chasing lawyers involved can get money out of it.
    Our right to fair process and fair trials is being eroded by these idiots and they can’t even see the harm they are doing.

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    • Damaged people being encouraged, by Pazder like therapists, to embellish there problems into huge Gothic narratives. It does the patient no good, it often hurts a lot of people around them and ultimately makes actual abuse cases seem less plausible.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly – I remember very well the last time the Satanic panic did the rounds. It needs to be stopped, and hard.
        And the genuine victims of abuse need assuring that their story is respectfully heard, which is a bit hard to do if we’re condition to believe the SRA bullshit, rather than the dad next door (as happened to my two little cousins).

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Follow on thoughts………is this not just a swanky version of those stupid Kevin Annett-style tribunals, run from his dad’s trailer? They have no legal standing whatsoever and, as far as I can see, no reach or authority. What’s to stop any random bunch of folk starting a tribunal and asking for money…. you know… to help the children and defeat “Satanists”. I might start convening one from my garden shed in Glastonbury….there’s bound to be money in it somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Why doesn’t it surprise me that the story by z86 involves military establishment and abuse by rich old men in mansions? It’s the same story time and time again, is this down to bad therapists or other folk leading the abuse victim in to what to say?

    Liked by 1 person

      • It seems that the people that make such claims are usually mentally Ill, paranoid and feel as though they are being oppressed by the system, couple that with a psychiatrist useing poor techniques, implanting false memories. Usually I would have thought unintensualy through incompetence, and you’ll always end up with a mixture of VIPs, government officials, police and military supposedly involved. They are the natural enemy of the paranoid delusional. Telling a story like that will always get the person a lot of attention, something they might crave.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I can understand why some of the proposals are put forward as many abuse victims would prefer anonymity at the same time as having their story heard. However, the danger is that people with completely fabricated stories, or so called recovered memories, would be allowed to spread stories which can cause severe damage to the accused. While they get support, the accused are left with their names dragged through the mud and no way of proving their innocence.
    Especially when the police do investigate, find no evidence, and then get accused of covering up.

    I feel that both the accused and the accuser should be anonymous, or both should be named.

    It’s sad that these type of reports focus on the more dubious stories of massive VIP ritualistic abuse, while ignoring the everyday more typical abuse stories. Those people appear to still have no voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly right, Dave. I feel that the recommendations, if followed, would only pave the way to more Hampstead hoax situations. If mutual anonymity were assured until cases were either solved or dismissed, that might help.

      I read this morning that over 10,700 sex abuse cases were reported against children under the age of 10 in 2014-2015. That is a staggering number, but I’ve never heard any of the Hoaxtead pushers mention those ‘everyday’ statistics. They’re far more interested in the lurid and the fantastical, and that cannot be the foundation of any truly useful approach to ending child sex abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How to give information to the police anonymously:

    https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/how-to-give-information/

    I suspect that isn’t what they are getting at.

    I would take seriously suggestions for something like a specialist service to provide help to people who have been victims of sexual assault. A place where forensic evidence could be gathered, a first account taken by a specialist, medical treatment could be obtained and initial counselling could start. Victims could decide whether they want to proceed with a formal police complaint straight away or when they felt able, or even never if that’s what the person decides. I suspect this isn’t what the paper is suggesting either, it seems it’s something more like anonymous allegations that turn someone who is accused of something into a suspect with the person making the allegation unable to be challenged or questioned about their account. Don’t like that idea one bit. If there’s no corroboration whatsoever, not even a known victim how would the police investigate, make arrests, get warrants, prosecute a case when there is a secret anonymous victim?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, even at the level of practicality this falls down. It seems to be driven more by a vague ‘abuse-centric’ agenda, which I understand but can’t condone. Obviously people who’ve been sexually abused need a safe space in which to disclose and work through the ramifications. And obviously they need understanding and proper care–I would never argue otherwise.

      It’s the anonymous allegations that worry me, along with the assumption that it’s up to the authorities to determine what really happened, even with the accuser is unable to provide adequate information to make a case.

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      • Sometimes the police have to build a case without an account of the assault from the victim, a very young child or someone who was very intoxicated for example. Some people, sadly, don’t know what occurred due to no fault of their own😦 That wouldn’t be funnelled through an advocate with the victim being anonymous though.

        I don’t like their idea of justice one bit. I say that as someone who unfortunately has experienced things no person should have to. I imagine they think they speak for all survivors. They don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tracey, such centres do exist, they’re called Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and they do everything you mention but , sadly, are constantly struggling to survive due to budget cuts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You try getting in one of the too few that exist though, it isn’t as straight forward as it should be. I know from a friend who needed this and I was there when they were trying.

        But they do exist you are right.

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        • Yes, access to all sorts of mental health services is being slashed left, right, and centre, despite the obvious and growing need. It’s a pity the self-styled child-saviours can’t focus on things like getting better access to services, but must waste their time and energy on chimeras like SRA.

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  12. The lawyer who started this whole thing is profiled here: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/appointments/lawyer-victims-abuse-prominent-individuals-8708427

    “Sexual abuse litigation lawyer Alan Collins has achieved notable success acting for victims of sexual abuse at Greenfield House, a children’s home in Berkshire where abuse had taken place in the 1960s. His investigatory work found the home to have been the centre of a paedophile ring, and each of the victims was compensated for the harm they had suffered”.

    A nice easy buck targeting rich people by using unbalanced people making false allegations that no-one can prove. They disguise it nicely by sticking in the word “justice” here and there.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Should’ve added:
        “Mark Harvey, head of Hugh James’s claimant division, said: “Having Alan on board is a real coup for the personal injury division, and for the firm as a whole. “He is regarded as one of the foremost lawyers in sexual abuse litigation with a track-record for achieving justice for victims that is second-to-none, and we look forward to him continuing that success here.” Mr Collins said: “It is transpiring that many cases of sexual abuse which took place decades ago went undiscovered or ignored at the time, and are only now coming to light thanks to the testimony of victims”.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. From the “testimony” of Z86; “His father also took him to various holiday camps, where he was swapped with other children for abuse by a group of fathers”.

    This is from a genuine American case, one that could easily have been discovered by a person trolling news accounts of childhood abuse cases online. Although it is true that “holiday camps” have been used as venues in which adults persons – primarily persons who were not the victim’s parent – by many perpetrators and for a long time, the reference to “a group of fathers” is specific enough to be certain of where this idea came from and that it did not happen to fantasist Z86.

    It is particularly vexing, when fantasists steal accounts of abuse from real cases and incorporate them into their own false narratives.

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    • To be charitable, we could assume that this person was the patient of an SRA-obsessed therapist, who’d read the story at some point in the past and simply incorporated it into the concocted memories of the patient. I don’t know that it happened that way, but I do know that in many cases, therapists have a great deal to answer for.

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