Witch hunts

The IICSA again makes the headlines today with more “revelations” of a fractured organisation unable to cope with the task it has been set. The Times reports it has investigated in particular the work of the former chair Dame Lowell Goddard and it reports various allegations made against her. Meanwhile, in advance of the expected imminent publication of the review of the work of Operation Midland by the Metropolitan Police, it is also reported that Lord Bramall has received a personal apology from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. That was in connection with having been publically named in an investigation in to allegations of the sexual abuse of children.

On the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning John Humphries commented that many people consider the IICSA to be a “sort of witch hunt”. His concern was that the IICSA does not seem to be following its core purpose of looking at the organisations which have failed children who have been abused and instead is looking at individual allegations. Somewhat ironically certain parts of the press could be accused of pursuing their own witch hunt against the IICSA and its former Chair. And of course Lord Bramall and others who have been accused of abuse but not charged and indeed in due course received some sort of public apology will feel that they too have been in the interim the subject of a witch hunt.

What everyone needs is some firm clarity about what the IICSA is now going to do, how it is going to do it and critically a realistic timescale for the same. The work of much of the IICSA is continuing throughout all of the media storm but that is not generally seen. On 18 October Prof Jay will, along with two of the other IICSA panel members, attend the Home Affairs Committee. It is hoped that will provide some of the much needed clarity so that witch hunts can be left for Halloween.


Paula Jefferson, Partner

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