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When the Scottish Government stated it would set up an inquiry into state child abuse in December 2014 – Nicola Sturgeon then dragged it out – first taking 6 months to appoint a chair of the independent panel – whom 2 religious orders objected to – delaying it further until October 2015.
The independent panel of three people were finally appointed to lead the inquiry, Professor Michael Lamb, Susan O’Brien QC and Glenn Houston.
Despite Scottish Government claims this would be one of the most wide reaching inquiries Scotland has ever seen, by 25th November 2015, survivors accused Holyrood of now being complicit in the cover up after the inquiry remit was restricted to mainly abuse in residential care – blocking many survivors from giving their testimony in one fell swoop.
The Charity supporting the survivors stating
““This decision resulted in many victims, who had suffered grievous abuse, being excluded from the inquiry. We are of the view that this decision has enabled institutions and organisations, who have covered up criminal activity, to escape public scrutiny, and possible prosecution. The failure to extend the remit of the inquiry has effectively resulted in the Government becoming complicit in a cover-up of abuse.”
And as well as blocking many survivors from giving evidence, survivors soon realised why as it was revealed the Charity spokesperson
“also hit out over what he claimed was the Government’s failure to properly address the issue of compensation payments.
“At meetings with officials about redress, it became clear that they had instructions to shut down any discussions about compensation or interim payments for sick and elderly survivors.
This has caused considerable distress amongst survivors as they feel that they had been failed yet again by the establishment”
Seven months later, in June 2016 we learned
“Professor Michael Lamb resigned from the panel, stating that the inquiry was “doomed” due to government interference.”
“Mr Lamb, who headed a research unit at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington DC for 17 years, said “repeated threats” to the inquiry’s independence had undermined its work and left it “doomed before the first witness has been heard”.
He said the government had delayed or prevented the appointment of members of staff and said the inquiry had to wait for prolonged periods before making key decisions.”
Then just a week later, on the 5th July 2016 we discovered the Chair of the Inquiry, Susan O’Brien had been “asked to go” with a report revealing
“The Scottish Government says she was asked to go after she made “inappropriate comments” during a training session in February. But in her resignation letter, O’Brien insists threats to oust her were being made as early as January.
There are reports that friction was caused by O’Brien’s desire to use junior counsel as opposed to in-house officials to take testimony. Education secretary John Swinney says junior counsel would have cost £100 an hour.”
Susan O’Brian is now suing the Scottish Government for £500,000 as a result with a report revealing fellow panel members opposed this move by the Scottish Government Ministers to effectively sack the independent chair of the inquiry with the report going on to say
“First Minster Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament:
“We don’t accept Professor Lamb’s comments about the independence of the Inquiry.”
The legal papers state:
“She (Ms O’Brien) considered that she had a duty to inform the public that the Inquiry’s independence was being actively undermined by the defenders (Scottish government).”
“Ms O’Brien also argues ministers lacked any legal right to remove her and seeks damages for loss of earnings and damage to her reputation.”
So who made the accusations against Ms O’Brien QC, 11 weeks after she is meant to have overhead O’Brien making so called inappropriate comments – an SNP candidate making money from the inquiry.
“At the centre of the controversy is child abuse expert Claire Fyvie, from the Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress, which was funded to provide three months of support to those taking evidence. It was Fyvie who overheard O’Brien’s comments and reported them to ministers. Fyvie had been an SNP candidate in the North Lanarkshire council elections.
The third panel member, Glenn Houston, chief executive of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority of Northern Ireland, who has not resigned, wrote a letter in support of O’Brien.”
The inquiry then “commissioned” Professor Lorraine Radford of the University of Central Lancashire, to undertake a review of evidence of the prevalence of child abuse in Scotland – who was head of research for children’s charity NSPCC for nearly six years.
The UK Privy Council controls universities too – and NSPCC is the charity accused of exaggeration and fabrication of facts and research as its peculiar brand of anti-parent propaganda to promote itself – using Tory party favourite PR company Saatchi and Saatchi to run expensive NSPCC promotion campaigns.
With the 2004 story headlined
“A danger to the nation’s children The NSPCC’s new ‘Someone To Turn To’ campaign will poison family relations, says the author of Paranoid Parenting”.
Weeks after the chair of the inquiry was pushed out by the Scottish Government Nicola took the opportunity to appoint a “judge”, Lady Anne Smith to “head the inquiry” as the new Chairwoman.
While John Swinney claimed
“It is in the nature of Lady Smith’s background as an experienced judge that the inquiry will be taken forward without fear or favour to identify how individuals and institutions failed many of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.”
Now we are told judges are independent of government, politicians and political parties.
What Nicola, Lady Smith and John Swinney did NOT say is that Lady Smith is in the UK Privy Council for life with Nicola Sturgeon – where they both swear an oath of secrecy to become members – to keep all state secrets together for life.
Does this include blocking state secrets about state child abuse?
Lady Smith soon showed her intentions as to survivors horror in January 2017 they found out under Lady Smith’s chairmanship the inquiry had now decided
“that if any perpetrator of abuse were mentioned in evidence, he or she would be informed.”
Not only would those who stand accused of abuse be told – Lady Smith decided all the alleged abusers would be given a list of names of every survivor who pointed the finger at them for what they had done.
The BBC adding.
“The charity said this could deter many survivors from coming forward – so it was vital that they had access to legal advice to support them in giving evidence.”
On 20th February 2017 BBC revealed the inquiry had moved to block 1,058 survivors getting the legal assistance, financial support required to give evidence and to deny them the ability to cross-examine witnesses.
Lady Smith achieved this by refusing to give the Charity, Wellbeing Scotland, official status despite the charity supporting 1,058 survivors and is
“the largest organisation in Scotland specialising in historical child abuse cases so it was imperative that it could give evidence to the inquiry”
with the BBS stating the inquiry (Lady Smith) felt
“the organisation did not meet the criteria to play a significant role.”
This after the Scottish Government, in August 2016, refusing to provide the charities supporting the victims with £13.5 million in funding required and meant to provide further support to survivors over 5 years.
Instead the Scottish Government set up their own survivor support service to get the money instead and then
“asked for information about their cases to be transferred to a new support service for abuse survivors.
The clients of Open Secret” (now Wellbeing Scotland) “and the In Care Survivor Service say the move risk breaching their confidentiality, despite the fact that the government says data will by anonymous.”
This move a blatant attempt for the Scottish Government to get their hands on all the victims files and their personal details.
Would Lady Smith provide those details to those who stand accused too – before the victims have a chance to give evidence to the inquiry?
This move forced Wellbeing Scotland, to block the Scottish Government “request to work with the new initiative” (as planned?) as the Scottish government claimed their new
“In Care Survivor Support Fund Service” funded with £13.5m over 5 years
“aims to direct people to the help they need, and could send them back to Open Secret, which would be paid for each case they take on.”
“But the charity’s chief executive Janine Rennie said she would rather shut than risk the privacy of clients.
“The Scottish Government has asked for details of vulnerable survivors to help them “transition” to a new service. We have said under no circumstances will we be passing on any confidential information, even if that means our service comes to an end,” she said.”
The day before a report revealed.
“Civil servants have told the charity running In Care Survivors Service Scotland that funding could be at risk if it refuses to hand over details of its work.
Some abuse survivors say there could be suicides if the counselling service, which has been run by Falkirk-based charity Open Secret since 2008, is stopped.
It has worked with more than 1000 people who suffered sexual or physical abuse, or both, while in care, and offers one-to-one counselling, group work, befriending and advocacy.
The Scottish Government provides £200,000 of funding per year.”
Not long after the Scottish Government removed the funding to bankrupt the charity so survivors of state child abuse would be left with no support.
Then on 21st Feb 2017, the day after we learned the Charity supporting the victims was being blocked by Lady Smith – the last remaining independent panel member announced he had been given two public sector jobs and he resigned to go collect the money from two public sector jobs, where he said
” a “change in priorities” in his working life meant he had applied for positions at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Disclosure and Barring Service.”
“I have now been successful in those applications and the appointments have been made”
With the BBC revealing.
“A successor to Mr Houston will not be appointed to the inquiry so Lady Smith will continue as the sole panel member.
The Scottish government said this brought it in line with other public inquiries established in Scotland under the 2005 Inquiries Act.
All this has ensured this leaves Nicola Sturgeon’s fellow UK privy councillor for life in sole charge of the four year Inquiry.
When the state defendant interferes with due process to remove independent panel members to replace them with a hand picked Judge with a conflict of interest with Nicola Sturgeon – both sworn to keep state secrets together – this is not an independent inquiry but a blatant cover up as survivors tried to warn – and a blatant abuse of position and power by Sturgeon, Swinney and Smith.
But the story does not end there as abuse survivors are being told the state and the residential institutions have lost their files or there is no record of them being in care at all.
Well I say – time for the survivors to pick women they know and can trust and the Scottish Nation demands survivors and a team of volunteer women are given complete access to all files and archives of the state, councils, social work and these residential institutions – and I bet we will find those so called missing files.
And as for Sturgeon abusing her power to order civil servants to remove the funding from the charity supporting 1,058 survivors – in a blatant attempt to get her hands on all the victims files – that alone should be cause for a police inquiry – tampering with an inquiry and a jail term.
“But the charity’s chief executive Janine Rennie said she would rather shut than risk the privacy of clients. “The Scottish Government has asked for details of vulnerable survivors to help them “transition” to a new service. We have said under no circumstances will we be passing on any confidential information, even if that means our service comes to an end,” she said.”
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 6:35pm
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