In order to speed up the process, lets set out a few guidelines as to what it is we actually want, especially those like myself, who have been denied a voice in the Inquiry.
At the moment any survivor who comes forward to give evidence or to make a claim for compensation is treated with suspicion and processed as if they were the guilty ones, because nothing they say is believed unless it is proved beyond reasonable doubt in a Court of Law.
The majority will fall at the first hurdle, the consultation with a solicitor, because it will be pointed out, albeit euphemistically, what an almighty battle they are going to face, something on par with David facing Goliath.
Those who survive that stage, then go on to have their entire lives scrutinised underneath a microscope by a shower of penpushers on the lookout for something juicy to tear said claimant to shreds with if they are insane enough to stand in the witness box. In my case, they had little to work with, I hold my hand up to the drinking, the partying and the devastating life choices, I was a wounded animal ffs! However, ultimately, as I have never done anything 'criminal', their psychologists had to agree I was a good egg and not liar. The truth however, is not enough, they turned on my parents.
And here is another important message to survivors. Please, please, please, look again at the actions of your parents, and understand that they themselves were young and foolish at the time you went into care. So many institutions indoctrinate young children to believe that their parents, their families, their bloodlines are BAD. The idea that children who go into care are the product of bad families and bad people is appalling and its just as prevalent today as it ever was! People fall on hard times, it can happen to anyone. Our parents believed we were being fed, educated and cared for, lets not judge them too harshly. The result of this poisonous education was that kids were turned out of the door of these institutions at the age of 16 without a soul in the world!
So many survivors don't make it, hardly surprising given the odds, but some go go on to lead happy lives, because they have been able to shut out the pain of the past and they are desperate not to be reminded of it and it is imperative that we respect their privacy. I don't blame them and don't think they should be hounded, but if they want to give evidence to support others their anonymity should be assured.
Turning to the question of anonymity, it appears to have shrunk (if it ever existed) from the CSA Agenda. I had no problem with standing in the witness box or speaking to the media, because I was not sexually abused, but I believe that physical abuse is just as bad - fortunately for me it doesn't come with the taboo that sexual abuse does. I didn't have to face or relive lurid details of grubby, stomach churning acts, that would have tipped my already unstable mind over into despair. These people do not want to re-live it and they sure as hell don't want their loved ones hearing about it!
Why must the abuse be proved case by case. St. Anne's Convent, Orpington, Kent, has had at least two of their former 'Uncles' imprisoned, and possibly one nun! In the event that more of the children abused by these creeps come forward, why should they be interrogated, stripped of any dignity they may have left, and forced to produce eye witnesses evidence to events that happened 40 years ago? Once the abuse is established, and it will be if people are encouraged to come forward and guaranteed anonymity, then their word should be accepted. At the moment we are being treated like peasants standing before M'lud and the repercussions today are far, far worse, than they were when we were kids. It seems the fear that some poor sod might get five grand he is not entitled to seems to dominate the way in which this Inquiry is being conducted.
The Inquiry needs to guarantee anonymity and protection to anyone brave enough to come forward with evidence. At the moment the abusers have got away with it because the survivors know it will wreck their lives if they become involved. Once abuse has been established within a home, those there at the time and affected by it should automatically be compensated without the need for individual trials, as it is in Ireland.
A realistic scale of compensation payments should be drawn up and a Fund made immediately available for those who need assistance now. I would suggest that the CSA Inquiry get on with it before we all die of old age, or is that the plan?