Shirley Oaks Survivors are right !

Alexis Jay is compromised by her failure to report the allegations of sexual abuse inside the enquiry and must go.

They are also right to criticise NAPAC. When NAPAC where told they would receive money from the home office in the run up to the enquiry they appointed a new chief exec who had no knowledge understanding or experience of child sexual abuse who then conducted a purge of staff and survivor volunteers. Much more seriously they refused to investigate or take any action against the allegations of the physical abuse of children by some staff and volunteers and refused to investigate allegations of homophobia.

We agree with the idea of parallel enquiries under a chair but they must be judge led or have legal investigative powers.

The allegations made against the new Chair of the enquiry into institutional child sexual abuse Alexis Jay on 27.10.16 on Newsnight, that she allowed the chief council, Ben Emmerson QC, to resign and that he is still being paid while he carries out a hand over to his successor, after he is alleged to have sexually assaulted a colleague on the enquiry, means she is no longer fit to be chair of the enquiry and must immediately resign or be sacked.

We had not joined the calls for her to be ruled out as chair due to her links to social work made by other survivors groups as her enquiry in Rotherham was ground breaking in its exposure of the cover up that had taken place there for years. We hoped that she would bring this to the enquiry.

It appears now she is doing the same thing. It is not possible for her to continue unless she gives a full public account for her actions. The belief that the victim did not want to make a formal complaint is irrelevant as Jay thanked Emerson after he resigned. This is a similar act to the BBC holding a Savile special after he was known to be an abuser. At best she should have made no comment but to keep him on the pay roll is inexcusable. The enquiry must have higher standards of openness and accountability than the norm, as we have been let down so often before, there can be no hint that this is happening again.

Survivors hope that one positive result from the enquiry will be mandatory reporting in cases where suspected abuse is involved. Jay should have applied this standard. Once the allegation was known he should have been instantly dismissed as it is not just the current victim that needs protecting but other past or future victims also.

The enquiry needs to be shut down now and a new consultation with survivors launched as to what an enquiry should be prioritising and then as many individual enquiries as necessary set up to run parallel to each other, each care home, school or other institution, need an enquiry to be set up with an umbrella to supervise but to reach conclusions and make recommendations as soon as possible.

For us the biggest problem has always been the enquiry does not address abuse in the family which is where the majority of child sexual abuse takes place. Institutions like social work, schools, the NHS and the family court system have consistently failed child victims of sexual abuse by family members and Alexi Jay knows this as her report indicated that many of the victims in Rotherham where in care, placed there after suspected abuse by a family member, this abuse making them vulnerable to being further abused. The enquiry needs to relaunch with a bigger panel and multiple chairs and it needs
to happen now.