I originally wrote this piece for a third-party organisation but due to workloads and technical issues this was never posted. So I decided to post and slightly tweak anyway.
I had noting against Baroness Butler-Sloss but . . .
The appointment of Baroness Butler-Sloss to head the inquiry that will look into historical cases of child abuse made absolute sense on paper. Her record and CV (until this article in the Telegraph was released)looked exemplary. But now we have to question, now there are doubts about the suitability of Sloss to head this inquiry. But I think that Sloss’ appointment was always going to be problematic even without the recent revelations. No one can (could have faulted) fault her previous track record. Sloss’ credentials were exactly what was required. Retired appeal court-judge, she chaired the 1987 inquiry into the Cleveland child abuse case with distinction. Even her gender is a plus. But in spite of all of this, Sloss still represents the system, the infrastructure that ultimately was responsible for allowing such child abuses to take place. Sloss is part of the very institutions that felt they deserved more protection than the children they were allowing to be abused and brutalised.
So where do we go from here? What is the answer to the decades of abuse and cover up?
We’ve seen Stuart Hall, Max Clifford and Rolf Harries all tried and now convicted of historical sexual offences. With inquiries and the ongoing investigations into Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith, who will be next? One cannot help feeling that this is not over yet. There are more unsavoury disclosures and revelations still to come.
The ongoing Operation Yewtree, the alleged arrest of, apparently yet another “house-hold” name threatens yet more exposure of unthinkable and unspeakable deeds allegedly perpetrated by another beloved celebrity. The sense of betrayal and disgust continues. The public demands an openness and honesty, that to date the State has never felt it needed to offer.
The very institutions, the bastions of so-called justice and protection are under suspicion of possible collusion. Of turning a blind eye, of taking the view that the protection of an institution was of more value than the safety and well-being of a child.
I, as one of many thousands if not into the millions, will be watching, reading and listening with more than a passing interest to see if we are finally prepared to protect and serve those in our society least able to defend themselves, our children.
article written on 7th July 2014
One week after the appointment to chair the public enquiry which will examine the extent to which public institutions failed to investigate allegations of child abuse, Sloss resigned saying:
It has become apparent over the last few days, however, that there is a widespread perception, particularly among victim and survivor groups, that I am not the right person to chair the inquiry. It has also become clear to me that I did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact my brother had been attorney general would cause difficulties.