NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
It has been revealed that there were a number of child abuse allegations involving the Isle of Man in a report released by the Methodist Church recently.
Coincidentally, six years ago (May 2008) we wrote to former Chief Minister Tony Brown suggesting the retrospective audit of child care on the Isle of Man saying:
“Given the revelations in adjacent jurisdictions and now in the Channel Islands has the Isle of Man government taken any steps to facilitate a confidential conduit of communication for children who were in care in the Isle of Man, particularly in the distant past (i.e. thirty, forty or even fifty years ago) so that they can air any concerns or reservations that they have about their treatment.
I am sure you will agree that regulatory regimes in all the jurisdictions cited above were found to have been wanting 30-40 years ago and therefore it would be prudent for authorities here to double-check that the systems that the Isle of Man had in place shared no such deficiencies.
An initial step that government could take is to place prominent notices with the Island media assuring that anyone with concerns can discuss issues confidentially.”
It was almost three months (August 2008) later when he responded and our request was turned down (section from Mr. Brown’s letter below):
“I have sought the advice of the Department of Health and Social Security on the concerns that you raised on behalf of the Celtic League. The Department is of the opinion that the procedures presently in place in the Isle of Man in this regard are appropriate and adequate in that the referrals of adults who may have been abused years ago when they were children are currently dealt with by the staff within the Public Prosecution Unit of the police force. This Unit has the training, knowledge and experience necessary to deal with highly sensitive and complex information. The members of the Unit work very closely on a daily basis with social workers and their managers and joint investigations would be undertaken if a complaint was received. If members of the Unit were of the opinion that an individual required more support than they were able to offer, they would be pro-active in seeking appropriate support.
As you will appreciate it is extremely important that any possible criminal investigation is not compromised by information being disclosed or evidence being contaminated. For these reasons the Department would be concerned that the setting up of a permanent confidential facility for adults who may have been abused as children, to allow them to report this abuse, is unnecessary.”
There had been rumours for years about abuse in institutions here in the mid 1950s, but as with all small communities it is always difficult for those who may have suffered to come forward. It is now also better understood that abusers chose their victims carefully so those most vulnerable and least able to speak out would be targeted. Because of their treatment and the damage caused in later life these are people least likely to put their trust in ‘the authorities’.
In our view an opportunity to extend a confidential lifeline to potential victims was missed many years ago.
Were we so arrogant in the Isle of Man that we believed that this was a haven isolated from sexual and physical abuse of children when it was rampant in every other urban and rural community in the British Isles ?
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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