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Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Lorna Carnegie
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We’ve Been Betrayed

The latest sex abuse scandal currently surrounding Westminster has not only stunned the British public, but also betrayed their trust in the political and legal system. The 114 missing files relating to the abuses were originally created by the late MP Geoffrey Dickens and have now put great pressure on the Home Secretary to establish what really happened, and to ensure that there can be no more potential cover ups. Claims of potential cover ups were inflamed by the news that a senior Tory MP had been urged not to name living politicians involved in the sex abuse scandal, supposedly to ensure that the political system remains secure. Lord Tebbit confirmed that there had been a cover up to protect the system, yet admitted this had been a terrible mistake. This attempt to protect the system and not the victims is undoubtedly wrong and many are now acknowledging that this issue is not about the politics, nor the politicians but the children who were abused.

The 114 missing files made up a dossier created by Geoffrey Dickens detailing an elitist Westminster paedophile ring in the 1980s. The dossier is now “lost, destroyed or simply not found”. This could be part of a cover up on the part of MPs trying to protect themselves, their colleagues or the system, with many now unwilling to disclose any names of living MPs for fear of reprisal.  The dossier was then presented to Leon Britain, the former Home Secretary, yet can no longer be found and the Home Office has therefore been accused of a cover-up by many. The dossier was also, however, handed on to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington, Director of Public Prosecutions, which only raises more questions as to how such a document could have disappeared. It must be questioned whether the guilt spans beyond Westminster to the legal system for failing to deal with the information appropriately. The DPP was perhaps himself covering for others for fear of what would happen if the information was revealed and the reputation of the system destroyed. This implication of the legal system provides even more cause for concern as more people have failed these children by failing to do the right thing and have chosen to protect the system, not society. Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP and former children’s minister, told the BBC that he feared the loss of as many as 114 files shows either “complete incompetence” or, more worryingly, “some degree of cover-up”.

In his first TV interview for 20 years Peter McKelvie, a child protection manager who had access to files linked to the conviction of Peter Righton, claimed that there was evidence of many more cases and abusers. He  told the BBC that he believed there is evidence that at least 20 people, including MPs and government ministers abused children for decades, and “a much larger number who have known about it and done nothing, who were in a position to do something”. Mr McKelvie, having worked on the conviction of a former consultant of the National Children’s Bureau, Peter Righton, claimed to have found evidence which extended much beyond Righton. He therefore took his findings to the Labour MP Tom Watson, prompting a preliminary Police inquiry in 2012, which then became a formal inquiry in 2013.

While Geoffrey Dickens was a lone voice in the 1980s,  after so much exposure and public knowledge it is now agreed by all parties that something must be done and the facts and failings of the past must be established. There will now be two separate reviews, announced the Home Secretary on Monday, first would be a broad inquiry, similar to that of the Hillsborough disaster, led by a panel of child protection experts. The second review will then look into how the police and prosecutors handled information presented to them, and why there has been no formal inquiry until now. Without such independent inquiries no one can truly leave their trust in politicians again. The inquiry which is going to be held, however, will not just look into the Westminster claims but will extend to children’s homes, schools and the police force.

The scale of this incident, the number of prominent figures who are involved and the number of people who appear to know something or other about the documents if not the abuses and abusers themselves, makes it appear very unlikely that there hasn’t been some form of cover up by those in power at some stage or another. Simon Danczuk, who exposed the late Cyril Smith as a child abuser, warned that if politicians were protecting paedophiles, “the damage to British democracy will be fatal.” One must surely conclude that he is right. As British citizens we put, not just our trust, but our security in the political and legal systems and yet we have been severely let down by those who run them. The fact that there is likely to have been a cover up makes one feel not only let down by the political and legal systems set up to protect its citizens but also betrayed by those whom we are supposed to trust, and to whom we entrust power and our security.

Please note that all blog posts do not represent the views of Catch21 but only of the individual writers. We also aim to be factually accurate and balanced across all content taken as a whole.

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