Wanless whitewash fuels cover up fears, says Simon Danczuk
Date published: 11 November 2014
Simon Danczuk MP
A review into how the Home Office handled allegations of child abuse in the 1980s is fuelling concerns of a cover-up, Simon Danczuk MP has warned.
The Rochdale MP, who first raised concerns this summer before the Home Affairs Select Committee over ministers’ handling of a child abuse dossier compiled by Geoffrey Dickens MP, said he was not surprised that the Dickens dossier had not been found.
“A disturbing pattern is emerging here,” he said. “The Home Office has been unable to appoint a chair for their historic sex abuse inquiry because they keep trying to foist a tame establishment voice on to survivors of abuse. Ministers seem determined to resist any proper, independent investigation that may uncover the truth and they’ve adopted the same going-through-the-motions, disinterested approach to the Wanless report.”
Adding that the NSPCC chief executive, Peter Wanless, had been “set up to fail” in his task to find the Dickens dossier, which contained the names of alleged VIP abusers, he said he’d met with Wanless after he was commissioned to look into how the Home Office handled sex abuse allegations in the 1980s.
“My impression was that the Home Office were not being particularly helpful in giving him access to files and that he was not given sufficient time to find the documents that were handed to the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, in the 1980s,” he said.
Mr Danczuk subsequently met with a firm of experts specialising in digital forensics and data recovery that had worked on a number of high profile cases including the Libor scandal and Hillsborough inquiry.
He wrote to Mr Wanless asking if he was using the same sophisticated techniques to locate missing files and was told that he wasn’t.
“The approach is pretty amateurish,” he said. “Since Theresa May announced her inquiry into child abuse this summer we’ve made no progress whatsoever. We desperately need to snap out of this overly cautious and defensive approach and see an appetite to confront the cover ups of the 1980s, not just gloss over the past and hope it all goes away.
“The message that’s continually being conveyed by Government to survivors of child abuse is that we hear you, but we’re not acting. Theresa May has a once in a generation opportunity to address child abuse failings of the past. But so far all we’ve seen are whitewash reports and hopeless attempts to manage and contain an historic child abuse inquiry.”
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