Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Institutional child sex abuse inquiry arrives in the North East

The Truth Project is appealing to victims and survivors to come forward to tell their accounts anonymously

Dame Lowell Goddard
Dame Lowell Goddard

An investigation which will give a voice to victims of institutional child sex abuse is coming to the North East.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) aims to identify organisations and institutions that have failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse.

The first stage of the wide-scale inquiry, known as the Truth Project, launches in the North East on Wednesday.

Dame Lowell Goddard, who is leading the inquiry, is visiting York to mark the start of the Truth Project in the region and the opening of the Inquiry’s office in the North East.

The project allows victims and survivors to share their experience with the Inquiry during private sessions or via written statements.

Information received will be turned into anonymous summaries to inform the inquiries reports and recommendations.

Some of the institutions involved nationally are the armed forces, local authorities, the media, schools, the NHS , religion organisations and voluntary and private organisations.

There have already been a number of high-profile investigations into abuse in the North East, including allegations of physical and sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

In December we reported how officers had spoken to 30 former prison officers, members of staff or governors after a total of 1,254 alleged victims came forward.

And Colin McClarence, of Gateshead, contacted IICSA last year to insist that the systematic sexual abuse of young boys at Feversham School, Newcastle, should not be forgotten.

Colin was one of a number of boys who suffered harrowing and repeated sexual assaults at the hands of Kevin Brown and John Leslie Duncan - now behind bars - after being sent to the school.

As IICSA opens its North East office, Dame Goddard will be accompanied by Inquiry Panel Member Dru Sharpling CBE and members of the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel, Fay Maxted and Michael May.

Hon Dame Lowell Goddard said: “I am delighted be in York to meet to discuss the work of the Inquiry, in particular, how victims and survivors can share their experiences with us as part of the Truth Project.

“I want to emphasise that we are committed to delivering a strong regional presence here in the North East.”

Fay Maxted from the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel added: “We acknowledge the courage that it takes to share an experience of child sexual abuse but each experience shared will make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry.

“Specialist support will be available to each person who wants to share their experiences in a safe and secure environment during a private session and they can be accompanied by a family member, friend or other support person of their choice.”

Once a victim and survivor decides they want to share an experience, the first step is to contact the Inquiry with some basic information. This can be done via:

The Inquiry’s information line: 0800 917 1000
Through the Inquiry’s website:­experience