Bobby Martin died aged 53 in 2018. He campaigned for many years to get justice for survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes. He was one of the 4 Founders of ISN, meeting us in 2013 right at the start. He has written an as yet unpublished book describing the abuse he experienced in Islington children’s homes, and other institutions. He never missed an ISN meeting with the council. He contributed to the planning and development of the Non-Recent Abuse Team and the Islington Survivors Trauma Service.
‘Being currently involved in supporting many victims of these atrocities, it is important to remember that some have had to for years hide or ignore (if that is ever really possible) the horrific events that took place and are now having to relive them. Many of these victims were wards of care (LAC) and the authorities were by all regards their “parents”. Not only was there sexual abuse but in some cases extreme violence and racism. Often these children’s cries would go unanswered or ignored, this in turn created an internal hostility to society and all that it represented…’ Historic child abuse. Silence of the Lambs! 16.1.17 post by Bobby Martin
‘During my time in care I was for years physically and verbally abused. I would be punched and kicked by my carer while at the same time being called a Black b@~~d, Nigger, Nig-nog, Golliwog, Sambo. I remember telling my social worker about an incident in Brighton when I was 12 years old. The home had gone on holiday, while on holiday I had got into a fight with another kid (who I found out many years later he had been abusing), I was forced to strip to my underpants and punched all over the place. I was then told to stand to attention by the wall and whenever I would lean on the wall due to tiredness I would be punched up again. When I told my social worker I was told “you must of deserved it.‘ Coming out of the Closet 5.5.17: post by Bobby Martin
“If it wasn’t for Bobby Martin, I don’t believe I would ever have had the strength to speak out and to speak out in the manner I did. Bobby taught me that feeling “angry” is not a crime. It is instead a reflection of self-worth. He and all of us who had to live under that regime, had and still have, a right to be angry.”Islington survivor
Islington Gazette, 25th July 2018
by Sam Gelder
Community stalwart Bobby Martin, who worked with offenders, gangs and the survivors of historic abuse in Islington, has died at the age of 53.
Bobby worked for more than 13 years in the prison service, managing staff and running behaviour programmes for offenders with substance abuse problems.
He was also chair of Respect for London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, supporting prison staff who were victims of racist abuse.
Locally, Bobby worked with the Islington Survivors Network as the group’s secretary, supporting the victims of historic abuse in the borough.
Two years ago he began working with his friend and fellow outreach worker Gwenton Sloley. The pair formed Crying Sons to help young men caught up in gang violence.
Gwenton told the Gazette: “I met him working in prisons, when he was working for Respect.
“He was a very intelligent guy, he always spoke about how he had one of the highest IQs in the country! There wasn’t any topic he couldn’t talk about.
“He would also give anyone his last pound. He was always giving people, if not his time then his shirt, or something!
“The week before he died he did someone’s wedding ceremony, because he used to be a deacon. He gave life to the community.
“He was a very religious man but he would still support the mosques and other faiths as well. He sat down with Imams.
“He worked with the Home Office on its Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme, doing peer reviews and telling them what they needed to improve.”
Bobby died on Monday last week, the day he was set to start a new role at City Hall working on improving the Gang Matrix.
He had previously served as the chair of the independent advisory group for the Met’s gang unit, Trident and he was brought in to help deal with the aftermath of the 2011 riots in Tottenham.
Excerpt from Coming Out of the Closet 5.5.2017
‘On one occasion my abuser came with another boy in my home to visit me in the [secure] unit with a present. A chess board as I very much liked that game. However I found out many years later that the same boy was threatened that if he didn’t comply he would end up in a secure unit like me. I never realised till many years later that I was being used like a field negro in the slavery days. I was the one who would be physically abused to scare the others to complying to the master’s demands. In this circumstance the demands were that he was sexually abusing the others. I remember when the police came to interview me as a grown and now changed man. I said to them “it’s funny because God knows if he had tried to sexually abuse me I would have put one in his neck”. The response the officer gave me was ” the people we’ve interviewed have said they could not have taken the beatings you were given”. I don’t put my story out there because I’ve never and still don’t want pity or sympathy. However as the Secretary of Islington Survivors Network (which supports victims of historic child abuse while in the care of Islington Social Services), It is important that people know there is no need to fear the boogey man of shame/guilt etc. As the boogey man is powerless when he is confronted. It is also important for professionals working with young people as many of the YP are children and grandchildren of these victims, who have a genuine mistrust and distrust of “so-called” caring services. I’ve been able to build a reputation not through social media but of practical hands on engagement as being one of the most real trainers you can come across, and that’s not because of my good looks and wit, but because of the grace of God to have not only had a multitude of experiences but of overcoming them giving hope to the listener, even without telling them my story……So to any reader who has a closet to come out of, now is the time.. breath and be free and release others at the same time.