Thursday 13th November 2014: Individual survivors with a wide range of abuse experiences in different institutional settings met with the Home Secretary.
It was at the request of the Home Secretary that the meeting was called. The Survivors Trust and NAPAC worked together to assemble a group of 15 survivors who could bring unique viewpoints and experiences to the table.
As survivors we acknowledged that we were unable to represent all survivors’ views and were very conscious that many other survivors could feel disappointed that they had not been included, particularly in the light of the lack of transparency around the processes of the inquiry so far. We were, however, determined to ensure that we achieved our aim of increasing the understanding of the Home Secretary and the Home Office in survivor issues, presenting views on the Inquiry, i) Terms of Reference, ii) Structure of the Inquiry and iii) Support for Survivors.
We agreed the following agenda and presented the following points:
- We called unanimously for a statutory inquiry, or a Royal Commission
- For the Chair to be someone appropriately qualified and experienced
- For the Chair to be appointed in consultation with survivors
Terms of Reference:
- The focus to remain on the establishment, institutions and cover-ups
- To extend the reach of the Inquiry back to the Second World War
- The geographical area to include Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands
- To reflect the experience of survivors
Structure of Inquiry:
- An advisory panel of survivors – to be properly resourced and expenses paid
- Expert panels to be established for each institution
Support for Survivors:
- All survivors are being affected by what is happening with the Inquiry and support needs to be made available and properly funded.
- Support groups are under-resourced and struggling to cope with the increased demand for support
- A conference of survivor groups to be convened to consider how to work together to represent the views of survivors and ensure support is in place
- We informed the Home Secretary that we would write to her on each of the above points, including a list of suggested names for the position of Chair of the Inquiry, and also with a list of the ‘ought nots’ that we would not support.
- At the end of the meeting the Home Secretary said that she felt her understanding of the issues had improved greatly and that she would be considering carefully the points we had raised, in particular the list of names for potential Chairs of the Inquiry.
- We were told that other meetings are planned with other survivors and survivor groups and that there will be ongoing consultation and regional meetings with survivors.
It was an exhausting and challenging meeting but we all hope that there will be positive outcomes from it.