The representatives of SOSA have finally had enough of Lambeth Council’s prevaricating. Lambeth admitted liability back in October 2016 for systemic failing and the abuse that was inflicted on Children in its care homes. Nine months later SOSA are still waiting for justice.
On 20th June 2017, Raymond Stevenson, SOSA’s spokesperson, stormed Lambeth’s office at Olive Morris House and demanded to speak to Sean Harriss the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council who had mislead SOSA on certain aspects of the proposed scheme to provide redress to the victims of historic child abuse in Lambeth’s children’s home. Having been informed to return later that day, Sean Harriss still refused to meet with Raymond and address SOSA’s concerns. The police were called and since that date Sean Harriss has not been at Lambeth with Jackie Beltram taking the position of Interim Chief Executive. Up to today's date Sean is still absent.
Michael Mansfield, the leading QC representing SOSA, told members at their meeting on 24th June 2017 that he was considering pulling out of the negotiations due to Lambeth’s lack of transparency and inability to conduct the negotiations in the spirit of redress.
Lambeth has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payers money trying to develop a scheme that reduces victims ability to claim compensation, rather than ensuring that all victims of the paedophile ring that operated in the Council receive the compensation they deserve.
On Wednesday 19th SOSA members will be making a deputation to all Lambeth Councillors.
Raymond Stevenson (spokesperson for SOSA) said: “Whilst we appreciate that Lambeth has admitted its systemic failing to the children who were in its care, this means nothing if its redress scheme is not fit for purpose and inclusive of all the victims and survivors we represent. The scheme was proposed last September and it’s nearly a year and it is still not in place. Over the last couple of months some of our members have died, Lambeth must be waiting for all of us to drop dead so they don’t have to compensate us for the harm they caused.”
Lee Jasper, said
"Just like the response to Grenfell Tower fire, victims of Lambeth's historic child sex abuse are still awaiting justice. That people who have and continue to suffer so grievously is an appalling indictment of Lambeth Council leadership. To inflict even more suffering on those whom have enduring the most sicking crimes, constitutes an cruel and unseal punishment.
Alongside Grenfell I warn anyone that cares to listen, that this particular debacle is draining public confidence in Londons civic and public authorities, and make no mistake the con sequences could be dire.
Lambeth Council needs to raise its game and ensure that they meet the expressed demands as set out by the campaign."
DATE OF DEPUTATION: Wednesday 19th July 2017
VENUE: Due to Lambeth Town Hall currently being closed for refreshment the full Council meeting is at The Elm Green School Elm Court Road West Norwood London SE27 9BZ
Notes to Editor
SOSA is a support group that has been set up yo listen and document the accounts of those or suffered or witnessed a variety of horrific abuse whilst in care inLambeth’s Children’s Homes.
Shirley Oaks Children’s Home
Shirley Oaks children's home was based in Croydon, Surrey on a 70 acre site with 52 houses which catered between 8-14 children. Complete with its own school, swimming pool, works depot and a doctor’s surgery, it was the only world most of the children knew. It opened in 1904 to glowing reports of Shirley Oaks as a model village created for children whose parents had died or were unable to look after them. Its mission statement was to train the children in a career and steer them away from the physical disadvantage of the crowded districts and also from the morally injurious influences which are powerfully demonstrated in the streets of the great metropolis. Thousands of children passed through the gates of Shirley Oaks. For most vulnerable children aged between 1 -16 years of age, it was easy for them to believe they had been sent to an outpost of heaven. Lush green fields surrounded the village style setting with houses branching off the enclosed ring road which would end up being a road paved to hell. Sadly for most of the children they would have been better off left to fend for themselves on the streets rather than being left in the hands of Lambeth and its children’s homes.
In December 2016, SOSA released its interim report which identified 60 paedophiles operating in Shirley Oaks. After extending its investigations to include other children’s homes in Lambeth, that number has increased to 130 paedophiles. In 2003, the Council had identified 50 paedophiles and the police believed there were 100 paedophiles operating in the homes In a plight to establish the true scale of the cover-up, the report examined the relationships between the local management of Shirley Oaks; Lambeth Council; various central government entities; the Police and the various council led independent inquiries into sexual abuse. It questions why there has was only ever one conviction for sexual abuse at Shirley Oaks when the abuse was so prolific and four as part of Lambeth’s overarching investigation of its children’s homes. The report also exposes the far reaching failures of Lambeth Council, its Children’s Social Services department and other entities and how this led, directly or indirectly, to the sexual and physical abuse and neglect of so many children with some experiencing premature deaths whilst others become addicts and/or experienced mental health problems and/or leading dysfunctional adult lives.
For more information on SOSA www.shirleyoakssurvivorsassociation.co.uk
To contact SOSA: Tel: 0207 701 9950 Mobile: 07956101387