Had someone from the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry site reach out to me today to share their launch. From the front page on the site:
“Welcome to the website of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. The Inquiry is independent from government and has two main components. One is the Acknowledgement Forum, which has four panel members whose task it will be to listen to the experiences of those who were children in residential institutions (other than schools) in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. It is now ready to start its work.
The other component is the investigative part of the Inquiry, which will investigate the way in which children were treated in such institutions during those dates. The legislation passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly in December 2012 has now received the Royal Assent, and became law on Saturday 19 January 2013. The Inquiry is now able to move to the next stage of its work, and is starting to examine a large volume of material provided to the Inquiry at its request by a number of institutions.”
I want to assure all those who may be affected by both components of the Inquiry that we will do everything within our power to carry out our tasks in a thorough, rigorous, impartial and sensitive manner without any unavoidable delay, and as we develop our procedures and our work progresses we will make more information available on this website.”
So if you are a survivor of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland, or just want to learn more, check out their site.
With ongoing historical abuse investigations continuing in English music schools, one adult survivor disclosed to the Daily Mail after the teacher than abused him was jailed for five years. That story is here from last weekend.
Another day, another story about Mark Zuckerberg’s opt-in Truman Show social network, Facebook. This time, the site responded quickly to complaints about a page that trolled sexual assault. The Daily Mail has the story here.
Over the Bank holiday weekend, Chuck Hagel described Sexual Assault in the Military as a “scourge” when giving a speech at the West Point Graduation ceremony. That story is here by the Daily Mail although the excellent Toy Soldier blog also covered something similar before the weekend and that post is here.
The Jimmy Savile story is still bubbling along under the surface at the same time as other English TV personalities have been interviewed regarding historical charges of child abuse. The accusations levelled at Jim Davidson and Jimmy Tarbuck only stood out because more of their TV work during their long careers has been live or shown on Independent Television (ITV) rather than the BBC.
At the time last year the Savile story mushroomed and like Penn State and the Catholic Church, became the only story in town from Autumn into Winter 2012. However there was very little time for reflection on the whole case. Despite what happened with Jimmy Savile, I will still use links to BBC stories for the News and Reviews section, not out of bias or because licence payers support it, but simply because the links are among the least likely to go dead on any subject. This is a common problem for blogs when posts get old, as highlighted by Mike on the main blog. Since neither of us have time to scour Google News for the best coverage when there are too many angles on a single large story, any news agency without a paywall may also be linked if the content is relevant. If those links die earlier, you’ll have to let us know. It’s similar to the News International Phone Hacking Scandal – Sky News, to date, has not been implicated in the illegal acts of its printed stablemates and so we continue to link to them as well.
On Savile, some of the true effects have been overshadowed in the race for the latest prurient headline or the newest right-wing agenda to criticise the BBC. He is a paedophile that never saw justice and who was only properly investigated tentatively as he was near death. Adding to his mountain of crimes, Savile has managed to destroy the image of any unmarried male charity fundraiser for any cause whatsoever, as well as child abuse, if the charitable endeavour falls outside the two big BBC-sponsored Comic/Sport Relief in the spring, Children In Need in the Autumn/Winter or the London Marathon. People will say that perception doesn’t matter but we live in a generally two-faced society where people will pretend to mean well whilst having formed their own opinions on individuals behind their backs. Savile has given people like this, the ammunition to carry on with gossiping.
As highlighted in the second documentary about Savile by a former policeman, the head of Children In Need at the time, banned Savile, but was only interested in his own patch and along with everyone else, did nothing else to make anyone else aware of his suspiscions. The staff have changed, new people have been hired at the BBC, but there is still an occasional reticence to report on occasion regarding child abuse since the end of last year, at least until cases are fully prosecuted and the offenders sentenced. They also have a general backlog of bullying and harassment cases to deal with at the same time, but to allow that backlog to build up suggests too much of a fixation over their UKP 900million big moving projects and the Olympics to tackle such cases and be more active in facing up to Savile’s crimes. Leaving the best of child abuse reporting to rival channels suggests the the new Director General and Head of News at the corporation have an uphill battle to get the BBC back on track and instead of trying to push one single view regarding child abuse and then placating critics with Children in Need every year.
Catching up with all the news recently in a fortnight dominated by the murder of a British soldier in London and the tornado in Oklahoma, and the bank holiday in both countries, one of the biggest stories followed on from a legal court case where Lord McAlpine took Sally Bercow to court. A court ruled that her tweet was libellous and she faces a claim for higher damages following a refusal to settle.
This links in nicely with Mike’s latest post about using social media to campaign against child abuse and naming people with zero proof, Sally Bercow (as an understatement) uses Twitter quite a lot. We’re not blind to the fact that the decision also represents tall poppy syndrome in the media who are only too happy to take the fringe benefit of criticising Bercow, with the assumption that she should not have a separate identity to that of her husband, the speaker of the House of Commons in the UK Parliament.
The Stories about this from the long weekend are here and here at the Daily Mail.