BBC NEWS: 7th August 2015

"Turning the tables on child abuse"

 

A chance meeting between two men who realised they had both been abused in the same Surrey children's care home has led to a campaign that has seen hundreds of former residents alleging they were also victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Music producer Raymond Stevenson, physically abused during his time at the Shirley Oaks home in the 70s, met a childhood friend last year who revealed he'd been raped at the institution. Within a few months, the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) was hundreds strong. 

 

"At the very first meeting I can remember there was lots of hugging lots of crying - it was really we are together now, they can't harm us again," Stevenson recalls. "No lies can penetrate our lives because we feel we were going to reveal the truth." The south London production office, from where Stevenson promoted music stars like Jessie J, now looks more like a police incident room. A map on the wall includes details of allegations from hundreds of former residents, suggesting physical, sexual and emotional abuse was routine at many of the houses on the 72-acre Shirley Oaks site. "We have been in contact with over 300 people and the stories we are getting are just horrific," Stevenson says. "Every time we interview someone and hear about what happened to them, it brings tears to our eyes. Reliving some of the horrors they went through again hasn't been easy."

 

There have been two major police investigations into abuse at children's homes in South London and three people including a swimming instructor, William Hook, have been convicted of offences relating to Shirley Oaks.Another operation is currently on-going, but SOSA have lost faith in the authorities who they claim have covered-up the true scale of abuse at Shirley Oaks. "We don't trust them and that's why we have decided to do this campaign ourselves," Stevenson explains. The Shirley Oaks campaigners are part of a wider phenomenon - a "survivor" activism that is changing the balance of power in relation to child abuse. Where once victims were ignored or silenced, now they are coming together, often through social media, forming support groups and building a crescendo of noise that the authorities are forced to acknowledge.

 

Read the full story here.

                        BBC London News: 27th October 2015                            

"Shirley Oaks Abuse: Calls for Case of Hanged Boy to be re-opened"

 

Former residents of a children's home in south London targeted by paedophiles have called for an investigation into a boy's death in 1977 to be reopened. Three people have been convicted of child abuse at Shirley Oaks in Croydon that took place in the 1970s and 80s. Survivors of abuse there believe Peter Davis, 15, found hanged there 38 years ago, may not have killed himself. Lambeth Council has acknowledged "very serious historic failings" and apologised to those abused in its care. Shirley Oaks, which closed in 1983, was an 80-acre site that included cottages where children in care were looked after by house mothers and fathers. 

 

 
Read the full story here.

The Mirror: 24th November 2015

"Labour MP Chuka Umunna demands new probe on death

of Shirley Oaks abuse victim Peter Davis"

 

Peter was 15 when he was found hanged at the children’s home in Croydon - survivors of abuse there believe he may not have killed himself. An MP has called for police to reopen the investigation into the death of a boy at a children’s home targeted by paedophiles in the 1970s.Peter Davis was just 15 when he was found hanged at Shirley Oaks, which was run by Lambeth council in South London.Three people have been convicted of child abuse at home in Croydon that took place in the 1970s and 80s. Survivors of abuse there believe Peter may not have killed himself.Lambeth Council has acknowledged “very serious historic failings” over previous standards of care and have apologised to those who suffered.Peter was the chief witness in a rape trial at the Old Bailey two years before he died where he gave evidence about his own rape and that of another individual.Court documents from Old Bailey cases were made secret for 100 years in 2003.Chuka Umunna , Labour MP for Streatham, who has constituents who are Lambeth abuse survivors said: “By the police’s own admission, previous investigations were ‘of the time’ and did not meet the standards we would apply today. "The police owe it to the survivors group to reopen the investigation into Peter Davis’s death.”Former senior detective Clive Driscoll said reopening the case would be a “great opportunity for detective work”.

 
Read the full story here.

SWLondoner: 27th November 2015

Child sex abuse inquiry to investigate

Lambeth Council over ‘historic failings’​

 

An independent child sex abuse inquiry taking place across England and Wales will investigate ‘historic failings’ by Lambeth Council. Councils across the country accused of poor child care will be investigated alongside the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and politicians. The inquiry, chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard, is due to take five years and will be of ‘unprecedented’ size in the UK. “We plan to investigate failings to protect children in the care or supervision of Lambeth Council,” she said. “We will also conduct a wide-ranging investigation into sexual abuse in residential schools. “We will also conduct an overarching investigation into allegations of child sex abuse by certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster.” She explained how determined those involved in the investigation were to ‘give a voice to the victims and survivors’. The 12 investigations will include the exploitation of children and alleged sexual abuse by members of the church. It will also look into allegations of a child sex abuse ring operating in Westminster. The inquiry will investigate the historic failings at children’s homes run by Lambeth in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
 
Read the full story here.

Sky News: 27th November 2015

Lambeth Council will be included in the Goddard Inquiry

 

The Anglican and Catholic churches and "certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster" will be investigated by the independent abuse inquiry, it has been announced. Justice Lowell Goddard, who is leading the investigation, also said councils in Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale will be examined. She set out 12 different areas which will come under scrutiny. Justice Goddard said: "The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies. "It will consider allegations of cover up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations." It will also focus on abuse in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, she said. The inquiry was established last year after claims of a high-level cover up of abuse and has been hit by delays after two of the previous chairwomen resigned.It will be the largest ever public inquiry in Britain and is expected to take up to five years and cost tens of millions of pounds.Justice Goddard acknowledged the inquiry's task is a difficult one.

 
Read the full story here.

SWLondoner: 27th November 2015

Child sex abuse inquiry to investigate

Lambeth Council over ‘historic failings’​

 

An independent child sex abuse inquiry taking place across England and Wales will investigate ‘historic failings’ by Lambeth Council. Councils across the country accused of poor child care will be investigated alongside the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and politicians. The inquiry, chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard, is due to take five years and will be of ‘unprecedented’ size in the UK. “We plan to investigate failings to protect children in the care or supervision of Lambeth Council,” she said. “We will also conduct a wide-ranging investigation into sexual abuse in residential schools. “We will also conduct an overarching investigation into allegations of child sex abuse by certain people of public prominence associated with Westminster.” She explained how determined those involved in the investigation were to ‘give a voice to the victims and survivors’. The 12 investigations will include the exploitation of children and alleged sexual abuse by members of the church. It will also look into allegations of a child sex abuse ring operating in Westminster. The inquiry will investigate the historic failings at children’s homes run by Lambeth in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
 
Read the full story here.

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse 

Children in the care of Lambeth Council

 

An inquiry into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Lambeth Council from sexual abuse and exploitation. 

 

Scope of investigation:

The Inquiry will investigate the nature and extent of, and institutional responses to, the sexual abuse of children in the care of Lambeth Council (‘the Council’), including those cared for in children’s homes, by foster carers and/or by adoptive parents. The investigation will incorporate case­specific investigations and a review of i nformation available from published and unpublished reports and reviews, court cases, and previous investigations.  In doing so, the Inquiry will consider the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse while in the care of the Council, and investigate: .... 3.1. a consideration of child sexual abuse which took place at A ngell Road, Monkton Street, Ivy House, South Vale, and Shirley Oaks Children’s Homes;

 

Read the full remit here.

BBC News: 10th December 2015

Shirley Oaks abuse campaign find '32 paedophiles'

 

Campaigners on behalf of victims of child sexual abuse at the Shirley Oaks children's homes in south London have said they received allegations that 32 paedophiles were involved. Three people were convicted of child abuse which took place at the homes in the 1970s and 80s. Abuse survivors believe there are other offenders who were never prosecuted. They have compiled testimony which will be handed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse. Fifty-two houses on the 70-acre Shirley Oaks site, near Croydon, looked after children in care between the ages of eight and 14 from the 1950s to 80s. The Shirley Oaks Survivors' Association launched a campaign video on Wednesday featuring accounts of adults who were brought up there.

 
Read the full story here.

BBC Newsnight: 1st March 2016

Detective who wanted to speak to minister taken off case

BBC News: 10th March 2016

"Man charged with historical sex abuse in children's homes"

 

A man charged with historical sex abuse in children's homes. Philip Temple, 66, of no fixed address, is alleged to have abused 12 victims between 1971 and 1998. The offences are alleged to have taken place in children's care homes managed by Wandsworth Council, Lambeth Council and Christ the King Monastery in Southgate, Enfield. Mr Temple was also charged with two counts of perjury.The charges were brought as part of Operation Trinity, which was launched after two allegations of abuse were reported to police in November 2012. Mr Temple appeared at Bromley Magistrates' Court on Wednesday. He was remanded in custody to appear at Croydon Crown Court in April.

 

Read the full story here.

 

The Telegraph: 21st November 2002

"Cleared priest in child risk checks"

 

A Roman Catholic priest is being assessed for any risk that he may pose to children more than two years after parishioners first raised concerns about him directly with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. A child protection "risk assessment" on Fr Philip Temple, who is attached to the parish of Christ the King, Cockfosters, north London, was begun only after The Telegraph made inquiries about his case. The delay in acting on the parishioners' concerns suggests that the Church's tough new rules on child protection are either inadequate or not being adhered to fully. Fr Temple, 52, a Benedictine monk, stood trial for abusing a teenage boy and admitted in court to being close to the alleged victim and giving him "pocket money". He was acquitted after a retrial in 1999 and returned to parish work. But members of the local congregation raised concerns about his continued presence in Cockfosters with the Archdiocese of Westminster.

 

Read the full story here

BBC News: 24th March 2016

"Children 'abused on an industrial scale' at south London care homes'"

 

Children were sexually abused on an “industrial scale” at council-run care homes in south London, an inquiry has heard. Vulnerable youngsters were the victims of “institutionalised evil” over a period of decades at homes run by Lambeth council, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was told.The claims were made by a representative of alleged abuse victims from the Lambeth-run Shirley Oaks home in Croydon. Raymond Stevenson, from the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, told the inquiry: “What took place at Shirley Oaks and other children's homes in Lambeth was physical and sexual abuse on an industrial scale which remained unchecked for decades. The damage done was irreversible.”He added: “Lambeth council itself has had many inquiries in the past. For whatever reason, including council cover-ups and institutional cover-ups ... we now see they were whitewashes.”Allegations of abuse handed out to vulnerable youngsters while in the care of authorities in Lambeth will form part of the wide-ranging inquiry led by Dame Lowell Goddard, which will also investigate the Anglican and Catholic churches and children's homes run by Rochdale Council.

 

Read the full story here

BBC News: 24th March 2016

"Goddard Inquiry: Children abused 'on industrial scale'"

 

"Physical and sexual abuse on an industrial scale... remained unchecked for decades" at children's homes in south London, a report by victims says.The report detailing allegations by 600 people will go before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. At a preliminary hearing earlier, the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association was given "core participant status".Its leader Raymond Stevenson said child abuse in the Lambeth Council-run homes had been a "reversal to the dark ages". The abuse had resulted in the "shedding of thousands of tears", he said, and called it a "shame on the establishment" and "institutionalised evil". The Shirley Oaks survivors accused the police of failing to deal with the allegations adequately, resulting in a cover up. 'Complex investigation'It is alleged two convicted children's homes abusers were volunteer police officers. The group said it might request several barristers and solicitors to reflect the number of complainants it was representing, the High Court heard. It plans to make a formal presentation to the inquiry chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard, along with providing video evidence from members.The counsel to the inquiry, Ben Emmerson QC, told the hearing the investigation would be "extremely complex... spanning many years and many institutions in Lambeth".It is one of 13 initial inquiries announced, including investigations into abuse within the Church, allegations against the late peer Lord Janner, abuse at children's homes in Rochdale and claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.

 

Mr Emmerson said in the case of Lambeth, there had been claims that a former Labour minister, Lord Paul Boateng, had been named as an associate of one abuser, John Carroll, who was convicted in 1966 and 1999 of multiple charges. The BBC's Newsnight programme recently presented information suggesting that Lord Boateng visited the Angell Road children's home, run by Mr Carroll, signing a visitors' book.  It also claimed someone identifying himself as Lord Boateng asked if he could help to resolve a row which followed Carroll's application to foster children. Mr Emmerson said no evidence received by the inquiry so far suggested any impropriety on Lord Boateng's behalf. The peer denies knowing Mr Carroll. A key aspect of the inquiry will be whether an organised paedophile ring infiltrated both the children's homes at Shirley Oaks, and Lambeth Council's social services. Mr Emmerson said there was evidence a second paedophile lived at Mr Carroll's Angell Road home, when he was running it, and that a third paedophile, Leslie Paul, was employed in children's services at the same time. Paul was convicted in December of what a jury heard was "vile group sexual abuse". The Lambeth inquiry will examine the actions of police, prosecutors and the Department of Health, and assess a number of past inquiries into the allegations. The inquiry is considering to what extent hearings should be televised.

 

Read the full story here

BBC News: 10th August 2016

"Ex-priest Philip Temple jailed for child sex abuse"

 

A former social worker and Catholic priest has been jailed for 12 years after admitting historical child sex abuse charges dating back to the 1970s. Philip Temple, 66, admitted abusing 12 boys and one girl while working in south London care homes and a north London church. He also admitted lying on oath in the 1990s when he was cleared of child sex abuse charges against a teenage boy. Judge Christopher Hehir apologised to the victim at Woolwich Crown Court. He said: "I am sorry justice was not done when you came to court in 1998 and 1999." The victim, who cannot be named, told the court he self-harmed, became a recluse and even tried to kill himself after the previous trials. He said: "I can only imagine the damage he has caused to other victims. We can never escape what he did and we can never be free of it." In a statement read out in court, one victim said: "I feel like I have been robbed of my childhood and sometimes when I see other children in the street I wish I could go back in time and be a child again." During sentencing, the judge told Temple: "You of course exploited the opportunities your deceit as to your character had afforded you, not only by sexually abusing children but, as a priest, by lying on oath to deny the truthful accusations brought against you by one of your victims. "Your actions as a priest demonstrated that in truth you were a wolf in shepherd's clothing." On Tuesday, Temple admitted seven charges committed in the 1970s. He had already admitted 20 similar charges and two of perjury at Croydon Crown Court in April.

Temple abused boys and a girl while working as a social worker in Lambeth and Wandsworth councils between 1971 and 1977.  He became a priest in 1988 and served at Christ the King Monastery in Cockfosters, where he abused two children, including an altar boy. He abused youngsters in children's homes in south London, including the Shirley Oaks complex near Croydon, the court heard. Raymond Stevenson of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association said: "If Temple had been caught at Shirley Oaks he would not have been able to abuse anyone else." A Lambeth Council spokesman said it was cooperating fully with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and added: "We hope the outcome provides some solace to the victims of these dreadful crimes." A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in England and Wales said when concerns were raised it was limited in the measures it could take because as a monk he was answerable to the head of his order in Italy rather than the archdiocese here.

Read the full story here

BBC News: 8th September 2016

"Survivors' group 'loses faith' in child sex abuse inquiry"

A 600-strong survivors' group has lost faith in the independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse, its leaders have said. Shirley Oaks Survivors Association told the BBC it would recommend withdrawing from the Lambeth strand of the inquiry because it was not "truly independent". Ex-inquiry chair Justice Lowell Goddard has said she was prevented from picking her own staff, and that civil servants were prioritised by the Home Office. Home Secretary Amber Rudd denied this.The treatment of children in care in Lambeth, south London, during the second half of the 20th Century is one of 13 areas that the inquiry is looking at.  But the Shirley Oaks group said the Home Office was one of the institutions that had failed children in care in Lambeth in the past - and that the scale of its presence in the inquiry staff represented a conflict of interest. Raymond Stevenson, from the survivors' group, told BBC Newsnight there had been a sea change in the way the inquiry was operating. "We have to recommend at this moment in time that we pull out. We have given the inquiry an opportunity to meet us. We contacted them two weeks ago and we are still waiting for a meeting," he said. "Some of our members have been through investigations before which had Home Office members and staff part of it so we have been through that. "This is about the third investigation Lambeth has been through so what we wanted from this was for it to be truly independent. We were sold a theory it would be truly independent."

Read the full story here

BBC News: 14th September 2016

VICTORIA DERBYSHIRE SHOW

BBC News: 14th September 2016

BBC London News -Whistleblowers Conference

South London Press: 16th September 2016

South London Press

South London Press: 23th September 2016

South London Press

Blog Talk Radio: 26th September 2016

SOSA on Blog Talk Radio

Open Letter to Tim Loughton  (20.10.16)

Dear Tim Loughton MP,

 

RE: OPEN RESPONSE TO THE HOME AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE 18.10.16

 

On Tuesday 18th October, I attended the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) as part of my role as Chair of Shirley Oaks Survivors’ Association (SOSA). As always, I started off with an open canvass which in my case meant banishing the pre-conceived mistrust, which I developed as a child, of those who claim to be redeemers of victims of child abuse. 

 

Up until now I have made no personal criticism of Alexis Jay as deep down I hoped her response to questions asked by the HASC would give me an insight into why she believes that, despite her lack of judicial knowledge and investigative skills, she has what it takes to unravel the Pandora’s box of institutionalised falsehoods perpetrated by various local and central Government establishments over decades. 

 

As many people now know, 45 minutes into the nauseating regurgitation of tick box answers to legitimate questions, I realised the flashbacks I was getting were not a placebo and as I had predicted,  it was GROUNDHOG DAY. Talking down day; thinking they know better day; limited with the truth day.  Sadly it got worse as I was forced to listen to the uninspired and unconvincing performances of Jay and her panel members. Despite their best intentions, I was left with the impression that they were the ones who knifed Justice Goddard and Ben Emmerson in the back - this maybe just my paranoia so I won’t rebuke myself for this.

 

Throughout their responses I heard the same mumbling pseudo intellectual theories that I had violently rejected as a child being interwoven into the outcome of Jay’s strategic review of the IICSA – this was as I had feared.  Her big eureka proposition to get to the truth is to create forums for seminars and thematic talk shops: techniques which have been rehashed from the 1970’s social services hand book which were inherit in all the past failed inquiries. 

 

Nothing I heard eased my concerns that Alexis Jay  has been parachuted in, off the back of Rotherham, on behalf of the Home Office, to stifle rather than get to the truth. What I did learn is that we, the Shirley Oaks Survivors and the public, have been lied to about the failings of the Inquiry for many months. 

 

Before we can make an informed decision as to whether SOSA can remain a part of the IICSA Inquiry, despite Jay’s obvious limitations, we need some comprehensive answers to some very simple questions, many of which have been fudged or unanswered in the past, so we are making this letter public:

 

  1. At the HASC, Alexis Jay insisted her appointment despite being a social worker, was endorsed by the Victim Support Consultative Panel (VSCP) whose job it is to advise the Inquiry. This we know to be untrue because at a meeting on 9th September 2016 where we met with Ben Emmerson, Elizabeth Prochoska, Alix Rejman and 3 members of the VSCP, in response to asking why the VSCP did not point out the obvious conflict with Jay’s appointment, we were immediately informed that this had been raised by 2 VSCP members. Emmerson also confirmed that he was not consulted about Jay’s appointment and was unaware that she was being considered to take over as Chair of the Inquiry. Emmerson was conscious of the concerns of SOSA and others about Jay’s suitability in the eyes of victims as we had previously outlined the fact that social services and social workers, were an integral part of the failings in regards to the abuse of children in the care of Lambeth Council and there were other organisations with similar concerns. The Home Office’s omission to consult Emmerson and core participants meant the collective views of many survivor groups were not considered.

 

To this end, we question why neither Emmerson nor core participant groups representing victims were consulted about Jay’s appointment?

 

  1. SOSA represents many black members who are appalled by what is being perceived as ‘playing the race card retrospectively’. If there were defamatory comments about ethnic minorities made by Dame Lowell Goddard, why were these not mentioned or dealt with at the time? The comments purportedly made by Dame Lowell Goddard would amount to gross misconduct in the workplace yet she was allowed to continue as chair of the largest Inquiry in British history, for months. The fact that it is alleged that she made disparaging comments against black people which may have led to her demonstrating a level of bias against black victims was clearly not considered significant. Equally concerning is the leaking of information to people who are perceived as having a negative opinion of investigating historical child abuse claims. 

 

SOSA would like to know why it has taken so long, for the purported defamatory comments about black people made by Dame Goddard, to come to the fore and what, if any, action the Home Office has taken to investigate this matter since it was made aware of the allegations in April 2016?

 

  1. SOSA has raised the issue of Home Office involvement in the monitoring and supervision of Lambeth children’s homes over the period the historical child abuse occurred. We have raised this with the Inquiry over the last year and have received various assurances that we now know are not true. We raised the issue again by letter on 19th September 2016 and we were informed by letter on 22nd September 2016 that we would be getting a comprehensive answer. To date a response has not been forthcoming. We know that Chuku Umunna MP has asked the question and was told that the Home Office records do not go back as far as the 1950’s; this is in contradiction to Helen Hayes MP raising the same question and confirming that the Home Office did have liability in the early years from 1950 - 1970.

 

SOSA therefore ask the question again: What was the Home Office’s, involvement in the monitoring and supervision of Lambeth children’s homes over the period the historical abuse occurred?

 

We would like comprehensive answers to the questions raised in this letter, and our letter of 19th September 2016, to enable us to discuss our continued involvement in this Inquiry with our members.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Raymond Stevenson

Chair, SOSA

SHIRLEY OAKS SURVIVORS ASSOCIATION (SOSA) ARE FORMALLY PULLING OUT OF THE INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE - SOSA PRESS STATEMENT: 18.11.16

 

Our decision to pull out of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) should have come with regret but we are sad to say the only emotion we feel is relief. Now our members do not have to relive their worst nightmares in this stage-managed event which has now been contrived in such a way that it enables the guilty to wash their dirty hands, whilst the establishment pats itself on the back.

 

 

Having watched the IICSA unpalatable circus stumble and lurch from crisis to crisis with multiple resignations and claims of racial and sexual abuse thrown into the mix, it no longer matters whether we think the Inquiry is just another stitch up because it’s clearly a botch job that needs a drastic overhaul if it is ever to achieve its initial objectives. We ask the Home Office's handpicked panel members who have presided over this debacle for the last 6 months to resign for the sake of all those children who were abused historically. Your failure to manage the largest Inquiry this country has ever seen means we have been abused again, over and over. Following the comment made by Ivor Frank at the Home Affairs Select Committee (18.10.16) we add, this is the perfect opportunity for you all to get on with your lives and avoid your reputations being stained in the blotted pages of history.

 

Prof. Alexis Jay

 

After the turmoil of losing 3 chairs we do not believe that Professor Alexis Jay is the right person to wrench open the Pandora’s Box of historical lies and cover-ups related to Shirley Oaks, Lambeth and the historical child abuse experienced by other survivor groups. The fact that Professor Jay has not even bothered to meet us or contact us since her appointment only adds to our fear that she is an uninspiring leader who cannot reach out beyond her daisy chain circle of middle management cronies. 

 

Nothing about this Inquiry is transparent apart from its failure to carry out its own remit and the unsubtle attempts under Home Office luvvie Professor Alexis Jay, to create a social work talk shop of seminars and thematic workshops which we believe will achieve nothing. From the day the Inquiry was announced, we never believed there was any intention to allow the survivors of child sexual abuse or the public to glimpse into a window of this country’s darkest shame.  Judging by what we have discovered in our own investigations, it’s not only the paedophiles the Inquiry is protecting but the Government’s historic cover ups.

 

The Home Office

 

In the past 6 months we have asked various questions of the Home Office about their liabilities, its answers have always been vague or evasive. Having acquired documents related to the Home Office and its inspections of Shirley Oaks Children’s Home, we now know what they are trying to hide. For any Inquiry to be truly independent and engender faith in its integrity, the Home Office either needs to come clean about its own role in covering up historic child abuse and staff the inquiry with independent employees instead of its secondees or handover the task of overseeing the Inquiry to a less tainted Government department.  We at SOSA are saddened.  The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse could have provided an opportunity for contemplation and learning across the UK as a whole.  We are all aware that mistakes were made in the past but without learning, these mistakes will continue to be made in the future.  The lives and future of many current and future care children could have been improved but instead, this opportunity lost will leave a pigment of shame on the Government’s hands.

 

Shirley Oaks Survivors Association 

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editor

 

For more information on SOSA www.shirleyoakssurvivorsassociation.co.uk

To contact SOSA: Tel: 0207 701 9950 Mobile: 07956101387

It is clear the Shirley Oaks Interim report has ruffled feathers as it was intended to do. In our efforts to be open, on request we have made the report available to; the press, the Police, Home Office and IICSA. There are no children’s names in the report apart from those who wanted their deceased siblings mentioned. There are many people who have a lot to lose from our exposure and it would seem that they are now making a concerted effort to undermine us. 

 

In the past the methods used have been to under investigate the allegations, to deny there was a paedophile ring operating in Shirley Oaks and other Lambeth Homes, to pervert the course of justice protecting their own and negating their duty to the public. Lastly, they have relied on the fact that documents and evidence has gone missing as a hindrance to their investigations.

 

Central to the failings in Lambeth was Operation Middleton which the Met Police announced at the time was a gold standard investigation. Our interim report contradicts this and therefore we would not be surprised if this became the subject of the attempts to discredit us. 

 

We ask the question: Is this to protect the paedophiles or is it to protect the integrity of the agencies that failed in the past? Dismissing our claims of a cover up by insisting it was just a few individuals who didn't follow the obvious leads didn't wash then and is not going to wash now. 

 

To date we have over 1000 members and we will not be intimidated because Shirley Oaks and Lambeth former care children have suffered enough bullshit in their lives to allow the same types of like-minded conspirers to derail our efforts. 

 

What they never realised when they defrauded us of our childhood was the encaged environment which we were forced to live created a unity and bond that has come back to haunt them. Now we wont be silenced. 

 

Raymond Stevenson (SOSA)

ITV News 16.05.17 - Sycamore House, Shirley Oaks

BBC NEWS 28.07.17 - Lambeth's Dumped Documents

Hundreds of sensitive documents have been found in an unlocked London estate storage unit, the BBC has learned. Child protection and rent arrears documents - showing names, addresses, and confidential information - were found on the Gauden Estate, Clapham. Campaigners say the find could include files missing from a historical sexual abuse investigation, which they believe was "covered up". Lambeth Council has moved the files to a "secure location" for review. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association say the discovery could include 140 boxes of council documents that have gone missing, related to abuse suffered at the Shirley Oaks Childrens' Home "It's imperative that the history of these documents is actually found out," said former Metropolitan Police officer Clive Driscoll. Three people were convicted of child abuse which took place at Shirley Oaks' in the 1970s and 80s. Ex-residents claim Lambeth Council has "covered up" the "industrial scale" abuse which took place at the children's homes.  Lambeth Council is set to pay tens of millions of pounds to former Shirley Oaks residents. Correctly identifying the documents could be "could be the difference between a successful and failed prosecution", Mr Driscoll added.

Read the full story here. 

Daily Mirror 02.03.18 - Drugged and abused for a decade in 'paedophile's paradise' - the extraordinary story of how one man fought

back and won for MANY victims

Raymond Stevenson found himself in a dark field above the city lights of Croydon in 2014. From 1903 until 1983, the cluster of Victorian cottages below had been home to thousands of children living in an idyllic 80-acre, semi-rural setting with woods, a swimming pool and birdsong. “It was called Shirley Oaks Children’s Home, but we called it Shirley Hell,” Raymond says softly. “It was a paedophile’s paradise.” From 1967 to 1977, after the courts ruled his struggling father unable to look after him, Raymond lived in Shirley Hell. He suffered 10 years of violent physical abuse there, and believes he was drugged to make him compliant. Other Shirley Oaks children suffered far worse. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were sexually abused by the people meant to care for them – house parents, the doctor, swimming instructor, janitor, football coach.

 

All part of what Raymond believes were multiple paedophile rings operating inside Lambeth with the collusion of officials and a notoriously corrupt local police force. That day in 2014, Raymond had just been told that one of his friends had been abused at Shirley Oaks. The “top field” was the scene of a recurring nightmare about his friend Peter. Peter Davis had been found hanged in 1977, aged just 15, in a toilet inside one of Shirley Hell’s cottages. Two years earlier he had been a witness in a rape trial. There were signs of sexual activity, but the court recorded his death was “misadventure”
 and in 1983 all the documents were made secret for 100 years.

“I realised that day,” Raymond says, “that Peter’s voice was the first of many to be silenced." Looking down on Shirley Oaks village, now private homes, Raymond made Peter a promise to expose all the wrongdoing. Within a month, he had called the reunion of Shirley Oaks boys and girls that would become the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA). In the three years since, Raymond, his business partner Lucia Hinton and SOSA have achieved extraordinary results. In December 2016, after interviewing 600 former residents themselves, SOSA published its own report naming 27 suspected paedophiles and giving details of a further 33 people suspected of abuse.

Read the full story here. 

South London Press 02.03.18 - Town Hall Ban SOSA Mediator

South London Press 02.03.18 

"SOSA demand proportionate payment for those abused at Shirley Oaks home"

Historic child abuse victims are contemplating employing a top human rights lawyer after it emerged some of them will get the same compensation as people who were in care homes the same length of time but did not suffer abuse. More than 400 victims of an organised paedophile ring within Lambeth’s children’s homes, going back as far as the 1950s, have now applied for payments under the town hall’s redress scheme. But it has emerged in recent weeks that everyone who was placed in the homes for six months or more will get £10,000, whether or not they were victims of the ring. Those who were just placed there for the same six-month period, but were not racially or sexually abused, will get the same £10,000 compensation. Some people, who had previously been assessed as being entitled to, for example, £6,000 or £8,000 compensation for sexual or racial abuse they suffered, are not getting that extra compensation if they have already had their £10,000 payment for being in “harm’s way” – which anyone who was in the homes for more than six months is entitled to.

 

Some people assessed as entitled to £20,000, because of the abuse they suffered, are now getting another £10,000 on top of their £10,000 “Harm’s Way Payment” (HWP). But they are unhappy that they will not receive the £20,000 on top of the HWP. But Lambeth council insists the £10,000 HWP was agreed with SOSA after initial plans for £1,000 payments were rejected. The authority also claims the £10,000 sum represents a greater figure than many victims would have otherwise received through the courts – while allowing them to avoid potential fees incurred through any legal process. However Raymond Stevenson, of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA), said: “It is not fair because, as it stands, it means people who lived in the harsh environment will get the same as some people who suffered levels of sexual and racial abuse over many years. “How can that be right? SOSA members are now receiving responses from the council whereby even though they have been awarded individual redress, where this amount is under £10k this money is deducted. This is just a cost-saving exercise which impacts disproportionally on black residents who suffered racial abuse and those on lower tariffs for sexual and physical abuse.”

Read the full story here. 

Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA)
shirleyoakssurvivors@gmail.com | +44 (0)207 701 9950