Islington Survivors Network (ISN) began in 2016 and set up in January 2017 as a non profit making company which now has 4 survivor/directors, a coordinator and researcher. There were 49 children’s homes run by Islington Council between the 60s and the 90s and ISN have now heard from over 250 survivors as well as former staff who have come forward as witnesses.
Survivors get in contact mainly through personal recommendation from other survivors who pass on our details. Word spreads fast. Some contact us via the website and leave a message on the voicemail. We receive this message on our email and respond quickly. Where possible we arrange to call or meet up. When we are not in lockdown, we meet at our office in London Metropolitan University, on Holloway Road in Islington which is quiet, safe and accessible.
Our priority is to help Islington survivors to find healing and also to achieve justice which might be through seeking financial compensation and an apology from the council or through police action in prosecuting abusers. Our first step after speaking with survivors, is usually to access their childhood care files from Islington Council. We write a timeline on the basis of the file evidence adding the survivor’s own account so that what happened is clearly on record in date order. The timeline can be used by the survivor in contact with lawyers and police as well as to refer to in therapy.
Until recently ISN was funded solely by voluntary donations. Islington Council now provides funding to ISN to assist some aspects of our work. This includes research and supporting ISN in the co-production of survivor support services with Islington Council and the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
FIVE MAIN STRANDS – THE WORK OF ISN
- Working in co-production with Islington Council in the delivery of support and trauma services for Islington Survivors of non recent child abuse.
- Assisting survivors in applying for their childhood care files and creating timelines of evidence from the file content and survivor & witness accounts.
- Supporting and advocating for Islington survivors in claiming redress through financial compensation from Islington Council for all forms of child abuse ( sexual, physical, emotional and/or neglect) experienced in Islington children’s homes and foster placements.
- Working alongside police and local authorities in the investigation of alleged and known abusers and bringing them to justice. ISN also call to account those ‘enablers’ who were paid to protect but facilitated the abuse, remained silent and often maintained the secrecy of crimes committed.
- Acquiring, collating and publishing the history of the Islington child abuse scandal between the 1960’s and 1990’s to analyse the role played by pro-paedophile groups and self professed networks of paedophiles in the abuse of Islington children placed in the care of Islington Council.
ISN WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU
You might be reading this because you;
- are a survivor of child abuse within Islington children’s homes and/or other children’s placements made by Islington Council
- are a witness of child abuse within Islington children’s homes and/or other children’s placements made by Islington Council
- are a friend, relative or parent of a child abused in an Islington children’s home and/or other children’s placements made by Islington Council
- are a professional who was employed to keep children in Islington’s care safe from harm and respond to their needs
- worked in an Islington children’s home, foster placement or social work office perhaps as a cook, cleaner, driver, residential care worker, inspector or administrator
- were a politician who held relevant responsibility at the time
- were a journalist who investigated Islington child abuse issues in the 60s-90s.
Contact ISN if you are a victim of, or witness to, child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect) in;
- an Islington council run children’s home
- an Islington fostering or adoption placement
- a secure unit, private children’s home or boarding school where children were placed by Islington Council
- a holiday setting organised by Islington council
- the context of a network of organised abuse of children in Islington
ISN know that organised, powerful, networks of child abusers operated across the country, including within Islington. It’s a big jigsaw ISN is piecing together and all details you can share with ISN are important. We aim to protect children now from harm and your evidence might help to do that if the alleged abuser is alive and still in contact with children and their families or even working in the children’s workforce.
ISN have been asked by the council to try and work out how many children were in Islington’s care system from the 60s to the 90s. We are calculating this from survivor and staff accounts as well as from file evidence, media and council records. To date we have identified over 1000 children and also over 1000 residential care staff who lived or worked during that time in the 49 Islington children’s homes. The homes were mainly situated within the north of the Borough of Islington but also in Hertfordshire and Essex.
Some children were moved between many different homes and foster placements and also staff worked across different children’s homes. At times when the child abuse was exposed, it seemed a common management response to close the establishment, move the staff around and split the children between different homes or secure units.
If you did not witness abuse but have knowledge which can help survivors, then please help us collect information about the children’s homes, the buildings, incidents, regimes, the children who were resident there and staff who worked in them. We are trying to put facts and dates together to help us add to what survivors tell us. Many files and documents have gone missing, so what you remember is very important. Perhaps you even have photographs. We are interested to know about any regular visitors to the children’s homes who had access to the children. We also want to build a clear picture of the regimes in different children’s homes including what forms of ‘discipline’ or ‘pin down’ (a brutal form of ‘ restraint’) were used.
Some Islington care leavers speak of good experiences in care and do not define themselves as survivors of child abuse. It is just as important that we hear about the positives as well as about the abuse. Sometimes things changed for the better or worse when a new manager came into post or a new member of staff joined the team. This is all helpful information for us.
ISN HAS CONTINUED DURING LOCKDOWN
Without access to our office, ISN has carried on by working from home and, when the rules allowed, meeting in the park socially distanced and keeping safe.
From March 2020 the Non-recent Abuse Team at Islington Council have kept in contact with many survivors – monthly or weekly to offer support. The Support Workers and the Trauma Service Psychologists have continued to provide a service whilst working from home.
Survivors have continued to come forward to ISN and we have linked them to the services but also helped them to access their files. This has not been easy as we cannot use our office at the University which is closed. The council Access to Records office has also been closed but as lockdown continued, and files were delayed by many months, the council made a special arrangement for us to collect most of the files we were waiting for.
Through zoom online meetings the directors of ISN have continued to meet and we have also continued the regular meetings we have with our legal team at Leigh Day solicitors, Islington managers and the Islington Survivors Trauma Service psychologists.
HOW TO CONTACT ISN
Contact ISN if you have something to add to the story of child abuse in Islington. Whether you are a survivor or witness, writing about your experiences, or calling us, is not easy. We won’t question you – we will listen to what you say and talk with you about what we do.
email: email@example.com or leave a voice message 0300 302 0930
We look forward to hearing from you
ISN Support Services
Islington Survivors Trauma Service (ISTS)
ISTS has been commissioned by the London Borough of Islington specifically to respond to the needs of survivors of child abuse in Islington children’s homes and other placements. This service is now established on a permanent basis and there are three psychologists available. Survivors refer themselves by making a phone call – without going through a GP or anyone else – unless of course they chose to. Sometimes ISN organise the appointments.
The service is very flexible and the psychologists are understanding of the impact of child abuse experienced in the care system. During an initial conversation with the psychologist, survivors think about how the Trauma Service can best help them individually. Any difficulties in accessing the service are discussed from the beginning. If you live outside London and cannot get to Kings Cross the psychologists will help you to find a similar service near where you live.
The service has been planned together with ISN and survivors contributed to the interview process for the psychologists. ISN attend regular reviews of the service and have provided training.
Further information is provided on the Camden and Islington NHS Trust website for the
Address: 4th Floor, West Wing St Pancras Hospital, St Pancras Way London NW1 0PE United Kingdom
Phone: 0203 317 6820
Directions: St Pancras Hospital is within walking distance from King’s Cross St Pancras underground station (Metropolitan, Northern, Victoria, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Piccadilly line) and Mornington Crescent Underground Station (Northern Line – Charing Cross branch). The 214 and 46 buses also run from both stations to the main entrance of the site.
ISN survivor’s feedback
“They didn’t judge me. I thought they wouldn’t understand what I’d been through because they are young but they did because they listened.”
“They’ve given me help to manage my anxiety. I’ve had panic attacks
for 30 years and now I have tried what they suggested and it worked.”
“I’ve never done anything like this before but they understand why I’m angry.”
Islington Council: Survivors Support Services – the Non-recent Abuse Team
The Islington Survivors Support Services (the Non Recent Abuse Team) are based at 222 Upper Street. This team has been set up for survivors of non-recent child abuse in Islington children’s homes and other placements. The team consists of a full time senior manager, a support worker, a social worker and administrator.
The service provided includes a broad range of practical assistance such as with benefits issues, housing, tribunal hearings and also access to records. ISN have been involved from the beginning in the development of these services and regular reviews of the service provision are held with the council.
Address: 222 Upper Street, N1 1XR
Phone Administrators: 0207 527 1848 (Monday – Wednesday) 0207 527 3474 (Wednesday -Friday)
Phone Team manager: 0207 527 4849
Directions: Bus: 4, 19, 30, 43 Tube and train: Highbury and Islington station (three minutes walk). Road: The front entrance to the building is on Upper Street, with limited on-street parking available within 50m. Cycle: There are public cycle racks at the front of the building.
Access to Records
ISN assist survivors in accessing their childhood care records. The support services work with ISN in this process. Generally, survivors ask ISN to collect the file from the Non-recent Abuse Team on their behalf and then make further arrangements directly with ISN.
National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood) is a UK-wide charity which has a free support line (0808 801 0331) Visit site.