Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Abuse Inquiry: Should it be the Assembly taking the lead.

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an investigation into whether the North Wales child abuse inquiry “properly did its job” following allegations a senior Tory was involved.

The Prime Minister said he was taking action to make sure the “truly dreadful” claims were not left “hanging in the air”.

The independent investigation will look at whether the Waterhouse Inquiry, held 12 years ago into abuse at the Bryn Estyn children’s home in the 1970s and 1980s, was “properly constituted”.

Meanwhile Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones also told his monthly press conference today that he was "considering the allegation"s.

I hope that there will be no turf war on this between Cardiff Bay and Westminster how an enquiry  should tale place but it does seem that Carwyn Jones should have acted quicker on this,and although it is vital that such allegations are not lost in a Westminster Bureaucracy and the Welsh Assembly Government argument the latter must not be bullied into silence or feel its cannot interfere in this .

If there's any problems of  with regards responsibility for investigating this then Carwyn Jones and Welsh Secretary Davis Jones should sort this out immediately.

The problem is with  Cameron's statement  commitment is that he wants to investigating the inquiry rather than reopening it 

The Waterhouse inquiry was a three-year, £13m investigation into sexual abuse at a number of care homes in north Wales between 1974 and 1990. A report published in 2000 resulted in policy changes and 140 compensation claims from victims.

The tribunal, led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, heard evidence from over 650 people who were in 40 homes. The aftermath of the investigation saw the appointment of a children's commissioner for Wales. An independent investigation will now look at whether the inquiry was "properly constituted"

Steve Messham, one of the victims, said that at the time it was made clear to him what he could say to the Waterhouse inquiry.  He was one of hundreds who were sexually abused during that period  but he maintained that 30% of what he wanted to say was ruled out at the time as outside the terms of reference. 

He has said that there's, No point in investigating the inquiry but wants the allegations investigated.

Meanwhile Plaid leader Leanne Wood hasd appealed in the social media for those abused to contact her.

“Anyone who wants to contact me confidentially regarding abuse allegations in the north of Wales please e mail me at mailto:leanne.wood@wales.gov.uk”

She added
“The overriding aim in gathering evidence on abuse allegations is to provide an avenue that victims feel confident in making the first step to recounting vital evidence.  “While some people may be entirely comfortable reporting abuse to the police, others will not.  Some people may prefer to approach the office of a female Assembly Member.  I’m offering these people, who may have lost confidence in institutions for whatever reason, the opportunity to contact my office in the strictest of confidence. “Only this morning my office was contacted by a friend of an abuse victim who said they were not comfortable reporting their allegations to the police because of the way they had been treated in the past. “Victims need to have confidence in taking that first step to reporting crimes committed against them. I am more than happy to provide an opportunity for them to do so and to explore all other means by which victims can come forwards.”

Her Channel 4 interview can be seen here  

I am loath to use this post to point out that this once again reflects the inadequacies of the devolution settlement but it would be better if the Assembly position on in this and it should n.t have to wait for the British Prime Minister to react in a speech in Abu Dhabi.

Would the Scottish Parliament wait for Westminster to take the lead?

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