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.
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.
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.
The Times today published an article by its chief reporter Sean O’Neill regarding the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, in which Howe & Co represent 25 % of the victim and survivor core participants.
The Times report states that the Inquiry has not published a single report since its inception 2 years ago and despite the cost of the Inquiry to date.
In fact, Howe & Co have been pressing the IICSA for many months to make interim recommendations for changes and improvements to the Civil Justice System, The Criminal injuries Compensation Scheme and in regard of reparations for survivors. As recently as the 8 June, when Howe & co met with the Inquiry’s legal team, Howe & Co raised the need for early recommendations again. We were advised that the solicitor to the Inquiry would be engaged in meetings in the current weeks in regard of making early recommendations and the Inquiry would be publishing an interim report in early 2018.
On the 4 and 5 July Howe & Co will be attending a victim and survivor seminar being held by the Inquiry along with a large group of Howe & Co’s core participant clients.
Howe & Co’s clients continue to demand that there is open, transparent and a clear process from the Inquiry and that information is provided at the earliest opportunity to allow our clients some of which are illiterate, to properly interact with the process and feel that they are part of the process.
We again urge the Inquiry to ensure that the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse are front and centre of the Inquiry.