The Guardian has recently revealed that leading track and field coach Rana Reider is to be investigated by the US Center for Safesport after multiple complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him. SafeSport investigates claims of emotional, physical and sexual misconduct in sport, although the independent body has not yet released a statement relating to Reider.
Reider was employed by UK Athletics as sprints and jumps coach from 2012-2014 before moving his training base to the Netherlands and then to Florida. He trains numerous elite athletes, including British sprinters Adam Gemili and Daryll Neita, at his Florida-based Tumbleweed Track Club.
On 14 October 2021 Islington Council voted to establish a support payment scheme (SPS) for people who suffered abuse while placed in the council’s children’s homes from 1966-1995.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) say that the female Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai deserves to be heard after having made public allegations that she was sexually assaulted by the country’s former vice-premier.
In a post made earlier this months on a Chinese social media site Peng says that she was forced into a sexual relationship with Zhang Gaoli. Zhang who served as China’s vice-premier between 2013 and 2018 has not responded to the allegations.
November has been a busy time for Governments North and South of the Irish Border.
Details of the proposed redress scheme for Mother and Baby Homes in the Republic of Ireland were announced on 16 November and on the previous day the 15 November, the Stormont Executive announced that a STATUTORY public inquiry will be held in Northern Ireland to investigate mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries and workhouses there.
All of the recommendations made by the expert panel which we discussed in our blog have been accepted by the Stormont Executive.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said “The publication of the report [last month] represents a major step forward for victims and survivors. I’m therefore pleased to inform members that the Executive accepts all of the recommendations in the panel’s report.”
A report by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) investigator into a complaint of bullying lodged by Bryony Frost against fellow jockey Robbie Dunne was recently leaked to the Sunday Times. The report contains allegations that there is an apparent culture of bullying and intimidation in National Hunt racing’s weighing rooms.
In October 2021 an expert panel recommended the establishment of a public inquiry to investigate the conditions and practices in mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries and workhouses in Northern Ireland.
The members of the expert panel, which was called the Truth Recovery Design Team are:
- Deirdre Mahon – a qualified and experienced social worker/youth and community worker
- Phil Scraton – professor emeritus in the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast
- Dr Maeve O’Rourke – lecturer in human rights at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway, and barrister
- The UK based human rights charity Justice which works to reform the UK justice system with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalised in society issued a report on 15 November 2021 on the Windrush Compensation Scheme for victims of the Windrush Scandal.
- The Scheme has come in for serious criticism since it was first launched in 2019, readers of this blog will be aware that we previously wrote about these difficulties in our blog on 12 July 2021.
The report make 27 recommendations to improve administrative and procedural aspects of the Scheme to ensure that it is properly accessible, fair and efficient for those who it was intended would benefit from it.
On 16 November 2021 the Irish Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Minister Roderic O’Gorman announced a new financial redress scheme for the survivors of mother-and-baby homes which will be the largest in the history of the Irish State in terms of the number of beneficiaries.
Mr O’Gorman said it is expected that the Redress Scheme will benefit 34,000 survivors to the value of €800 million.
On 10 November 2021, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) published its seventh set of case study findings, link here. This set is about two residential schools run by the Marist Brothers, St Columba’s College in Largs and St Joseph’s College in Dumfries between 1950 and 1981, and is based on evidence heard from 43 witnesses between 3 October and 5 November, both 2019.
The main finding is that children at both schools were sexually, physically and emotionally abused, with both schools found to have had “flawed systems that allowed abusers driven by sexual motives to have easy access to children in their care... A culture of obedience, fear of severe punishment and the authority of the Catholic Church” are found to have “empowered abusers, and, conversely, rendered many victims powerless in the belief that their complaints of abuse would not be believed.” Such reports of abuse as were made “were not taken seriously or investigated as they should have been. In a few cases, action was taken, usually moving a Brother on to another post elsewhere. None of the reports of serious abuse made to Brothers were passed on to the police at the time.”
There has been a recent increase of cases reported where children have been killed by their parents during the nationwide lockdown measures put in place due to the coronavirus outbreak.