Thursday, 25 October 2018

The inhumane treatment of a child abuse survivor and whistleblower

[UK Col 5 October 2018]

"What better place to go than IICSA, ... Theresa May`s child abuse inquiry because it`s just been talking about its findings in Nottingham and [it has] mentioned Beechwood children`s home, of course where Melanie Shaw was abused; and then Melanie became the lead whistleblower. So Sky news here says, `One of the most notorious children`s homes in Nottingham, known as Beechwood, has been singled out by the inquiry for special investigation. There were 136 allegations of sexual abuse from children there between the 1960s and the 1990s,` and, of course, this is a special investigation of Beechwood because the lead whistleblower Melanie Shaw has never been called to give evidence to that inquiry. On the contrary, the inquiry has done everything it possibly can to make sure that Melanie has not appeared at the inquiry. They`re not interested in speaking to Melanie and as their media lady said to me in a slightly agitated state, `What do you expect us to do? Break into the prison, Styal, in order to get Melanie`."

"Well what`s going on here I think is becoming pretty clear. It`s John Mann MP.  He said. `It is a total betrayal; the system didn`t work for them, the institutions didn`t even co-operate and hardly talked to each other. It is quite astonishing how they were let down... This is institutional failure but we need to learn for the present and the future`."

"I thought I`d just slap a label across this. No, no, no Mr Mann, it is not `institutional failure.` This is criminal activity;  and the evidence is easy to see, that institutions fully co-operated in the abuse and subsequent cover-up. So I`m not sure what Mr Mann`s plan is here. He is apparently representing three of the abuse victims. I called his office before we became live today in order to see what he had to say about the fact that the lead whistleblower Melanie Shaw hadn`t been called but there was nobody to answer the telephone. We`ll try him again this afternoon."

"BBC is on the bandwagon. Now remember of course that this is the same BBC that has removed all of their earlier articles about Beechwood and the abuses and those that featured Melanie Shaw; but they are telling us that `three witnesses who gave evidence on Tuesday had all been through branches of Beechwood community home in Mapperley`."

"`The facility is one of three case studies for the Nottinghamshire branch of the inquiry, which opened at Trent Bridge on Monday. A woman in her 50s, identified only as D7, said she grew up in Mansfield and went into care in the 1970s. She recalled being attacked `on several occasions` by John Dent, a social worker who lived on site`."

Brian Gerrish refers to a picture of Melanie Shaw: "So there, remarkably, this particular victim of Beechwood she said that children were not only abused but murdered on that site and has been completely blocked so far from this inquiry."

"David, I predicted a very long time ago that IICSA would be a cover-up. I believe...that even more. This is a very carefully crafted government cover-up, as to the scale of the abuse, and the links through to high level abusers in the establishment and the political system in Westminster. And the fact that [they] are now reporting on Beechwood without even interviewing the lead whistleblower says to me that I`ve been correct. Sorry to be a little bit arrogant there. What do you feel about IICSA?"

David Scott: "Well look what it`s doing? It`s now been running for how many years? Exactly how many shocking headlines have we seen ? How many ... politically connected people [have] been charged? How many have resigned in disgrace? How many changes have been made? There`s been nothing. What it is is a nice quiet gentle ease out from where we were three or four years ago where we had daily headlines about people like Leon Brittan, what he was up to with small boys, and a general view that the people who rule over us have shown themselves to be utterly corrupt. And now this is just easing the public down gently. So there`ll be some lessons to be learned. There might be a few low level people thrown to the wolves but what`s going to change? I don`t see any momentum here for change."

Brian Gerrish: "But of course you need the abused children because as you`ve demonstrated if you have the abused children who go through life damaged and suffering, the state can then use that to bring in controls over parents who do look after their children."

"But this little part of the story gets worse because it was kindly pointed out to us that the Independent Monitoring Board had recently produced a report on HM prison Styal where Melanie has of course been held. This is the Board; it`s independent; it`s always important to tell people that; it`s an independent Board `appointed by the Secretary of State from members of the community in which the prison or centre is situated`. Now I spoke to a very nice lady at this organisation this morning and I questioned her about this report. I`ve been invited to email the Board although I`m not to know who`s on the Board at the moment. But why did I have questions? Well I had questions because the report that they wrote has concluded that prisoners are overall treated fairly in the prison although a small number with poor English are at a disadvantage. `Are prisoners treated humanely? The view of the Board is that prisoners are treated humanely by staff in the prison. However conditions are adversely affected by the poor state of the buildings.`"

"So overall this is a good review for this prison. But when we get into the report there`s some interesting things there. `Five women have spent between 31 and 42 days on the... segregation unit under Rule 45 or Rule 49. A sixth woman arrived on the Unit under this provision on 7 November and, despite several unsuccessful efforts to begin a return to normal location, remains there at the time of writing, with appropriate authorisation. The unit is not ideal for anyone to spend more than a few days`."

"Now some people suggest that this particular person that they are referring to is Melanie Shaw. I believe that could well be true. But I simply asked the question of the Board: If people were spending a long time in a unit where you should only be for a few days, how is this humane? And they seemed to get rather confused by my question. Hence the invitation to email them."

"I`ll just add in this from the report, because if you go into the depths of this report they`ve got a massive increase in self-harm and mental health issues that`s occurred over the last few months. And it`s interesting that the prison governor has recently had to step down, although the Ministry of Justice at the moment will not tell anyone the reasons she`s been removed from the prison; so HMP Styal ... is effectively out of control; it doesn`t have a proper governor. The government who appoints people who do the inspection isn`t saying why this lady has been removed but we seem to have another report smoothing the waters, although conditions in that prison are pretty unpleasant."

"And I`ll just put this image up which I did tweet out yesterday."

"But as I watched Theresa May cavorting on stage in front of her adoring conservative audience, I thought: `Yes, this is the dancing queen that was of course responsible for putting Melanie Shaw in prison and Melanie has finished her jail term but is still - I think it is 3 months later - is still in prison, still not receiving the [care for her] mental health needs that she deserves.` So well done Theresa May."

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