I was in Cardiff the day Waterhouse’s report Lost in Care was released to the public. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and relief. I was with friends and we celebrated being vindicated, being believed and being heard. Because that’s how we felt. Or did we? Most of the day was spent at HTV HQ among many staff who had been involved in the abuse scandal for the past 15/20 years. It’s my belief that many of the staff were as relieved as we were. They too considered themselves vindicated and proven to be telling the truth. Maybe we were carried along more with the ambiance of the environment rather than with our own internalised feelings.
The following weeks were an anti-climax. Dullness appeared. The sky looked grey most of the time. I couldn’t fathom out why. I didn’t bother to examine my thinking. I was studying at university at the time and had things to be getting on with. The next ten years were lived as any other member of society lives. Work, rest and play. All my time and energy was devoted to building a secure family environment within which my children could grow up safely and with solid foundations. It’s ongoing.
I’d moved on. I existed as a graduate, a father and a husband and employee. Residential care abuses were a thing of the past. I still bumped into others who were in care with me and we used mention this and that but I wasn’t the “spearhead” of victims I used to be.
November 2012, NewsNight escapade. All bets are off and time is turned back. Pallial is announced and the phone starts ringing again. Any temptations to appear as a spokesman never arrived. I took to social media as an outlet for my thoughts, concerns and attempts to obtain answers. Mistake? Probably, given what we’ve endured as a family because of my mistaken beliefs. Social media isn’t always social. In fact much of time it’s nothing but anti-social.
Much of the time the police use the old media outlets to disseminate the information they want out there. Old media outlets are happy to oblige. It’s how they operate, its how they’ve always operated, especially in this part of the world. Nepotism is rife and I now believe it played a large role with the previous police investigations into the abuse of countless numbers of children. In short, I believe the previous criminal investigations weren’t carried out with the intentions of catching abusers and preventing them from offending further. No, I believe they were expeditionary inquiries into the scale of the “care home abuse problem”.
Furthermore, I believe as soon as the police grasped the enormity and scale of the ‘problem’ the work of concealing it began. Minimum effort into uncovering abuses and maximum effort into burying the issue. Most of the complainants, or to use a more accepted and modern title Victims, were perceived as undesirables jumping on the bang wagon of compensation. Thieves liars and beggars who weren’t worth shit to any serving police officer. The Shit of society. Low lives, thugs, shoplifting benefit scroungers who deserved nothing from anyone. They’d been in care so all theories fitted. The same perspectives were/are held by most of those similar industries. Probation, health services, prison authorities, educational environs, employment and not forgetting the media. Just who the fuck are these whingers wanting compensation? Get rid.
John Allen’s convictions prove the old guard wrong. Misinterpretations, whether innate or subjectively gained have been evidenced on an oceanic scale. Biases of society against ex-care residents have and continue to cause thousands of victims of abuse incalculable and continual suffering. Those who’ve died won’t get any pleasure from John Allen going to jail. The police’s attitude towards ex-residents is slowly, and I consider forcibly, being changed. Why did the latest twenty or so victims have to endure the past two decades without being heard? What about all the other cases in the pipeline? Why didn’t north Wales police succeed where Pallial has? Will Operation Orarian answer these questions? When will the victims of the police failures get closure? Is there closure? Mark never had closure. How many more need to die without ever having their stories told? Ergo… let the healing begin.
Finally the biggest questions for me are-
Will insurance companies always have the last say on all matters of child abuse?
Will the fabrication and destruction of files ever be uncovered?
Finally, and taking into consideration the time scales involved with these issues, does the present Limitation Act need to be reformed?