This week I had the opportunity to chat with one of the country’s leading abuse Barristers. Between us we have dealt with most of the high profile cases over the last two years, including claims involving celebrities, paedophile gangs, abuse in the Church and abuse in institutions; and the incredible profile that our area of work has achieved in the last two years.
As a department at Farleys, abuse law has seen a massive increase in the volume of enquiries we receive and Counsel had also been inundated with new work. With an eye on the future we discussed whether this was likely to continue and how the changes mooted by Jackson to the Civil Justice system would affect our area of work. We both expressed some concerns for the future.
It’s now Friday and I am sitting at my desk taking stock of the week that has just passed. During this week I have been instructed to act for one of the victims of the Oxford abuse ring who gave key evidence in the Police inquiry known as Operation Bullfinch.
I have received instructions this week from a victim of historic abuse at Stone Cross School. We have already successfully acted for numerous victims of abuse at Stone Cross and again this most recent instruction comes from a client who was integral to the Police investigation into the abuse. The Department has also received instructions this week from two separate victims of historic abuse by family members.
On a national level we have seen abuse in the news on a daily basis this week. There have been convictions of members of the paedophile gang in Rotherham. There is further fallout from the Saville inquiry which has also looked at the BBC and whether both Saville and Stuart Hall could have been prevented from carrying out the abuse that they did. I am personally aware of two further Police enquiries which are being undertaken in other parts of the country which are not dissimilar to the circumstances of Rochdale/Rotherham/Oxford.
At the end of a busy week I think back to the discussion with Counsel and come to the firm conclusion that this will remain a high profile area of work for years to come.
Rotherham/Rochdale/Saville/Hall represents the tip of an enormous iceberg. Many of the victims affected by these scandals have still not come forward and there are many more similar scandals yet to be revealed. As a society we must hope that we learn from past mistakes and that inquiries such as the one carried out by Dame Janet Smith into the BBC help prevent future abuse. I suspect, however, for the foreseeable future we will continue to see headlines reporting past scandals particularly as the Goddard Inquiry progresses.
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