Survivors from Islington Survivors Network went along to the press conference of Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (Lambeth) held in the Courthouse Hotel, Great Marlborough Street, London on 14th September.
We heard how the 600 survivors had gained support from knowing that over the years abuse took place in numbers of Lambeth children’s homes, some staff within police, housing, youth services, social work and local councillors had worked hard to raise the concerns. Some of these whistleblowers spoke at the conference.
The daughter of Bulic Forsythe, (a housing worker who was murdered), spoke about how she would not stop searching until she found out why her father was killed. He was said to have been exposing child sexual abuse networks in the authority. We also heard how another housing worker was murdered in mysterious circumstances.
The whistleblowers spoke about how they have never given up reporting what they had witnessed about the crimes against children in Lambeth despite the endless brick walls they came up against. They asked the very important question of why other staff were too frightened to report and why they colluded with the abuse and cover–up.
They want the death of one boy Peter Davis at Shirley Oaks in 1977 to be re-investigated.
The current leader of Lambeth Council apologised to the survivors , promised to be as transparent as possible with them and to make information available to them. She said that the council was willing to take part in difficult conversations about what happened.
In Islington we have called out to people who worked in the homes and neighbourhoods to come forward and help us with their knowledge and information. Whilst survivors have come forward to us, whistleblowers have not. We have not heard from any former members of staff. We have heard from a current staff member who is too scared of losing his job to speak out but told us what he had witnessed.
There must be police, housing staff, social workers, cleaners, cooks, relatives, advocates, lawyers, administrators, local councillors and many others who hold important knowledge about the abuse of children in Islington who remain silent. This climate of fear has to change. Islington Council need to put a strong message out to current and former staff to come forward to us and work with us in assisting the survivors in healing and bringing abusers to justice. The abusers are not all dead by any means.
Shirley Oaks survivors have led the way for us. There are many links between Islington and Lambeth abusers. The networks did not stay within Borough boundaries.
We are collating evidence from the accounts we are now receiving
We need your help
Your memories and evidence might be a crucial piece of a survivor’s jigsaw puzzle that will help them to understand better their childhood in Islington’s ‘care’.
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