No it is not a witch hunt

My very simple point is that we are uncovering more and more serious long term abuse and then reacting to it. It seems to me more important to be able to reassure present day parents etc that systems are in place in every closed institution today to investigate and prevent any abuse. The other half of that coin is a willingness to confront historic abuse in the institution concerned.

If that means revisiting half forgotten historic abuse, then so be it.
I have not been a victim, but others I know have been. Further we have a lot more evidence of the long term damage done by abuse. Barristers doing crime see this in sharp focus. And I do not mean simply the accounts in impact statements. You see it in the live evidence of victims and even in unrecorded conferences of clients who were themselves abused before perpetuating the cycle. A misplaced hand ruins lives and destroys relationships. Hence we do need to pursue abuse relentlessly.

So yes, a good headmaster should be raising the issue in Governors meetings and have a strategy in place. A structure for a pupil to be able to report without fear. That presupposes some very skilful teacher communication in school from the outset.

But none of that undermines my belief in a calm dispassionate evaluation of evidence and the two stage test for prosecution.

Nigel Pascoe QC


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