Martin Howe and David Enright appeared on the opening day of the Genfell Tower Inquiry on behalf of the more than 60 victims and Survivors of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe.
Sam Stein QC addressed Rt Hon Moore Bick (chair of the Grenfell Inquity) on behalf of Howe & Co’s clients. Mr Stein informed the Inquiry that Howe & Co took an unashamedly pro victim, pro survivor, pro resident stance. Mr Stein QC set out the challenges faced by victim core participants and the steps the Inquiry must take to address those challenges and to allow survivors to participate.
The Chair, Sir Martin Moore Bick, described Howe & Co’s submissions as ‘powerful’
To watch the live feed of the hearing see here
Day four to eight of the Inquiry continue to hear the most compelling evidence of the widespread failures to protect vulnerable individuals. Some of the most compelling and distressing evidence was heard in camera and not allowed to be streamed. David Enright and Sam Stein QC continued to represent the victims and survivors of some of the most serious child sexual abuse.
David Enright said of the evidence that he heard that:
David Enright of Howe+Co, along with Sam Stein QC continue to represent a large number of Core Participants. Having opened as reported in http://www.howe.co.uk/news/first-day-catholic-church-hearing, the questioning started of the first witness, Dom Richard Yeo.
A copy of the full day transcript for the 28 November 2017 is here
Howe+Co were granted permission to ask questions of Dom Yeo. It was confirmed that in respect to Fort Augustus, that a compensation fund was being discussed, but not in respect to Downside and Ampleforth.
Sam Stein QC then took Dom Yeo to the Rule of Life of St Bendict, and the following was said:
On the 29 November 2017, questions continued of other witness and the full transcript is here.
A number of witness were examined by Counsel to the Inquiry.
The first day of the Roman Catholic Inquiry has concluded with opening speeches from David Enright and Sam Stein QC on behalf of the Howe+Co clients. Sam dealt with issues of disclosure whilst David opened for the clients. The full transcript of the hearing is here.
David opened for Howe+ Co Core Participants with:
The Guardian reported on today's hearing in their story "End secrecy of confessionals 'to protect Catholic children'"
The hearing continues and will do so until the 15 December 2017.
Howe+Co will attend this two-day seminar 26 and 27 September 2017, will examine whether current arrangements to prevent child sexual abuse in healthcare settings are effective.
Many of our Core Participants have reported to us that they as children did report matters to health care individuals and or were admitted to hospital with injuries that were clearly identifiable as being from a sexual assault.
During the seminar, healthcare leaders and professionals from across England and Wales will take part in discussions that will help the Inquiry understand the effectiveness of current practices to protect children from sexual abuse, and ways to ensure that children are better protected from sexual abuse while receiving health care and treatment.
We will facilitate our Core Participants taking part in the seminar and asking relevant questions of those individuals. The timing and further details will be provided to our clients when released by the Inquiry.
Howe+Co remain committed to respecting and promoting diversity in all its forms, both protected and otherwise, within this firm.
30 of Howe & co’s staff took part in an internal review process and voluntarily completed a detailed questionnaire, based upon guidance developed by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority. The detailed results and our staff make up review and commitment to diversity can be found here
The mean average age of our staff is 35 – 44. The next largest area is 45-54. We employed slightly more women than men. No persons identify themselves as transgender. We have no persons that consider themselves to be disabled, however at least one colleague’s work is effected by health problems.
13% of our staff identified as Asian, 17% identified as Black, and 69% identified as white. 17% of our staff identified as not having a religion, 3% as Buddhist, 60% as Christian, 3% Muslim, and 7% as Sikh. 90% of our staff identified as heterosexual, the remainder either not answering or preferring not to say.
67% of our staff attended a UK state school, 17% went to a private UK school, with 10% educated outside of the UK. Over half of our staff identified as having degree’s. 17% of those that had degrees were the first in their family to have so done, 33% had family who had a attended university previously, 40% of our staff did not have a degree.
37% of our staff were primary carers for children under 18, and 3% spent between 1 – 19 hours of unpaid time providing care to a person with a long term physical or mental illness caused by disability or age.
From these figures we will continue to target recruitment in under represented areas. We have already signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme, and our building is already adapted to allow full access for disabled persons; both as employees and visitors. We will approach organisations to take advice on attracting persons to apply for roles who identify as having a sexuality other than heterosexual and or identify as disabled.
David Enright (partner at Howe & Co) said:
“It is important to Howe & Co that we reflect the community and society in which we work, so that we can draw on the talents, skills and experiences of all people. It is only by careful monitoring that we can continue to progress towards the goal of being a truly diverse and inclusive organisation; for the benefit of our staff, our clients and for the community in which we work”
In early 2016 I began working with a very impressive group of 12 men, all of whom alleged that the had suffered sexual abuse as boys in a Catholic Seminary College operated by the Comboni Missionary Order (previously Verona Fathers). I found these men to be mature, well educated and highly articulate. Their accounts of alleged abuse at the hands of priests of the Order were convincing and deeply troubling. Their accounts of the efforts they had made at the time of the abuse and over the many following years, to hold this international Catholic Religious Order to account were deeply impressive.
Almost a million British Children attend schools run by or associated with the Catholic Church. It is therefore a matter of great importance to these men and to all right minded people that children are safe in schools.
In June 2016 I assisted these men to apply for core participant status in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). This is a national public Inquiry into historic child sexual abuse, which is seeking to learn lessons so as to protect children in the future.
Howe+Co representing a large proportion of the victims and survivors who have been granted core participant status before the Independent Inquiry into child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), including approximately 25% of the core participants in the Roman Catholic church Investigation.
There have been grave concerns regarding child abuse in the Catholic Church in the UK and internationally for some years. The Catholic Church continues to operate and oversee the education of almost a million British children. This investigation is therefore very important for child safety in the UK.
On 28 July the IICSA published a determination by the Chair which appears to effectively sideline a very large proportion of all of the core participants in this important investigation.
Of the 54 Core Participants Howe+Co represent 13 of them,( twelve who alleged they were abused by members of the Comboni Religious Order). The remaining 40 core participants come from a number of different parts of the Catholic Church. A key case study selected by the Inquiry is the The English Benedictine Order, which is a monastery based Religious Order that is distinctly different from the wider catholic church in terms of management and child protection.
A large number of the Core Participants in this important investigation are now effectively excluded or sidelined from this investigation because of the on going criminal trial (Ealing Abbey/ St Bendict’s School and potentially Worth Abbey). As such of the four Abbeys identified originally as case studies for this Investigation, 50% are now not going to be considered. The remaining Abbeys to be investigated are Ampleforth Abbey in York, and Downside Abbey in the West of England, both in relatively remote locations. This the Chair has indicated, will be the evidence representing the whole of the Catholic Church.s. These two remote and wholly unrepresentative Abbeys will be used by the Inquiry to make findings in regard of child safety in the entirety of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
This decision by the Inquiry jeopardises the integrity and reliability of the whole Roman Catholic Church Investigation.
David Enright (had of Howe & Co’s Inquiry Team) said:
The Guardian has reported that children as young as 12 are being denied compensation by a government agency because they are considered to have “consented” to being sexually abused.
David Enright (Head of Howe & Co’s Inquiry team) said: “I have raised this shocking issue with the Independent Inquiry into child Sexual Abuse repeatedly. I did so at the IICSA in the Seminar hearing of the 21 February 2017. Since then I have repeatedly urged the IICSA to immediately recommend that the CICA scrap this appalling policy whereby they maintain that children can consent to sexual abuse.
We have today written again toProfessor Alexis Jay OBE (Chair of the IICSA) calling on her to act on our repeated calls and immediately recommend to government that this atrocious policy is scrapped ”
Howe & Co, are very pleased to announce that Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, today granted three further applications for Core Participant status for clients of Howe & Co. David Enright (Partner and head of Howe & Co’s Inquiry team) said:
“Our team puts a great deal of work into assisting vulnerable victims and survivors to have a meaningful role in this important public Inquiry. I am very pleased that we continue to win recognition for our clients in the IICSA”
Howe & Co are currently encouraging persons who were or who are affected by issues of on line grooming to come forward so that we can assist them in relation to the IICSA’s newly announced Internet Investigation.
The dead line for core participant applications for this vitally important investigation is the 28 July. As such we would encourage any persons affected (directly or indirectly) by child abuse which was facilitated through the internet or otherwise to contact us as soon as possible.