Thursday, 18 December 2014

Ray Burton Christmas Home Appeal

As an ex Bryn Estyn resident myself. I as deeply saddened to read about another ex-resident- Ray Burton's situation. It got me thinking. Discussions with others have led to this plea. Lets get Ray housed for Christmas. He won't get any cash from this campaign just a bed, warmth, food and hopefully some company. He'll also discover there's people out there who actually care enough to donate a couple of pounds. This should raise his confidence. Ray is one of thousands of homeless. We can't help them all. But we can get this man out of his cave for Christmas. Ideally I'd like to put a few in his place but that's another story. Go on then, just click and donate. Imagine his face when he finds out because he doesn't know yet.

RayChristmashome

Ray Burton grew up in the South Wales Valleys and things started going very wrong in his life when he was put into care at the age of 13. Ray (52) will spend Christmas in a cave - because he has nowhere else to live. He spent a period of time at the now notorious BRYN ESTYN  children's care home in Wrexham, where he says he was abused. "I had a very rough childhood but before I was put in care, I got into nature and even had a pet fox,"


Ray Burton moved into his makeshift home on Llandudno's Great Orme 
limestone headland because he has nowhere else to live

Cave dweller: Homeless man Ray Burton in his makeshift home "I think it's this love for the outdoors which makes life in the cave endurable."

Cold and damp: Ray Burton and his tent inside the cave Ray Burton moved into his makeshift home on Llandudno's Great Orme limestone headland after he was told to leave his flat.A year ago the future had looked brighter for the former builder as Hope Restored, a charity which helps the homeless in Llandudno, found him a flat."I moved in on January 1 and lived there for four months."I was secure, warm, had no debt and the place was lovely but I had invited a few friends from the streets one night and things got out of hand."The landlord said it wasn't to happen again, but my so-called friends wouldn't leave me alone, and were constantly hanging around drinking outside and I was asked to leave.

Softly spoken, polite and articulate, Ray says he hit rock bottom again about a month ago, when all his possessions were burnt in the cave. Ray, who suffers from alcoholism, was left with nothing but the clothes on his back."That was a very bad time, I've no idea who did it but I was left with nothing and had to start all over again."Brenda came to the rescue, she clothed me and bought me another tent, sleeping bag and a little stove."Living in the cave isn't too bad. I've got my radio and have an amazing view, it's also very peaceful."But I do get very cold sometimes, and I'm asthmatic so living in there isn't good for my chest as it's damp."I also get very dirty because of the dust on the walls and the mud." Hard year: Ray Burton is hoping for better fortune in 2015

He added: "Christmas Day will just be like any other day for me. "I'll be trying to keep warm and will be eating the food parcel Hope Restored will give me. "I hope 2015 will be a better year, I just hope I'll get a flat as I am getting too old to be living on the streets."

Ray Burton outside the cave in Llandudno



Story


Friday, 12 December 2014

My Story, Bryn Alyn Survivor Dave Harries

I feel honored and privileged to have been asked and trusted to share this story. Trust is always a grey area for survivors of child abuse to enter in to. Especially given what we've witnessed happen to many genuine victims in recent times. Dave didn't think of asking anyone else. I'm glad about that decision. Check out the infamous Child Abuse troll at the bottom. Then forget him.:)
_________________________________________________________________________________

My name is David Harries and I am 38 years old and a survivor of child abuse. When I was 5/6 I used to climb out of my bedroom window and run away because of the abuse I was getting off my drunk father. I told my primary teachers of all the nasty things my dad was doing, it was all physical abuse very violent and very cruel/wicked. Social services were aware but never intervened for another three and half years which led me to get more damaged.

Just before my tenth birthday I was given a beating by my father for something I never did. Of course I ran away. The next day being hungry I stole a pack of three Mars bars and I got caught and when the police officer grabbed my arm I winched. Upon getting into the police station the officer made the Sergeant aware of my winching. A doctor looked me over and I had a bruise the the whole of my back. That's when social services got involved. That's when I was taken away from my mum.

The weird thing is how the social worker made 'care' sound comfortable and safe and creepily inviting. I have never forgot that day Whitney Houston's track One Moment In Time was on the radio and my mum was broken in floods of tears and my dad never said a word(coward). The social worker took me to Elmfield house in Rochdale. I was put in a big bedroom with a big antique bed in it and I curled up and I fell asleep. Nobody checked to see if I was OK till about half past eight in the morning. Coming out of that room was the scariest moment. Eleven years of age and every single person around me was a stranger. They use to give you a clipper card to get to school and I used mine to go on a bus journey all over Manchester. When I got back I was frog marched into the office. The manager told the member of staff to leave and he belted me right around my head hard then slapped me across my back and bum. The place has been knocked down now plus the night watchman use to be on the girls landing all the time. He use to hit you in the private bits if he caught you out of your room, I can still remember in detail the inside of that place.

I was moved shortly after to Rotherham Keppel’s view. I was placed on Hood. There was two more units Anson/Nelson they also had a secure unit. There was physical abuse here too. In fact I ran off. About fourteen of us ran off and I played a role in helping another lad off Anson pinch the home van. I got the worse beating for that and was put in the secure bit to recover from it . Un-be-known to me my social worker had brought my mum and sister to see me and they refused to let them see me. Social worker did nothing about that. It’s as though he knew. A few incidents involving the teacher and a member of staff happened to me. All physical. I ended up leaving there because of my behaviour. They was sending me to Ashleigh House in Blackburn. They showed me round but I kicked off and they had to put me somewhere quick. They took me back to Rochdale and put me in Burnage View, but that was not their route for me, wasn't there long before they took me to Red Bank in Warrington. My memories of Burnage View is something I never witnessed in any other home. They was nice it was very family orientated it was a good place. 

Back to Red Bank. It was not a nice place, very eerie, big long corridors with dorms off it and restraint rooms. I was placed on Vulcan right at the end of the corridor. It was very strict and the manager had a weird name. I witnessed him one evening, really late. He picked up a boys duvet quilt and touched him for a few minutes. The boy stirred and he quickly put the quilt back on him. He turned around quick and caught me awake. Nothing happened then but the next day was film day. I was sat there with my friend and for some strange reason he walloped me in the face for no reason. I ended up getting in trouble for it and dragged off to the restraint room where I was met by the doctor and the manager and some big members of staff.

I was hand cuffed and then beaten really bad like a major warning beating. I was left there until the next morning still handcuffed and bleeding. I managed to run away which believe me is no mean feat, it was tough but I did it. I refused to go back. Then I was asked really nicely by my social worker- where I would like to go? Weird, because I was used to being told where I was going. I chose Burnage View, I had really good memories of that place but my behaviour blew it. 

It was at this point in life I started to behave more maturely. 

I came back from school and I was told I have forty five minutes to pack my clothes. Confused, doesn't come close. I did not get told where I was going until on the way. In the car was my social worker and a girl. She was dropped at Bryn Alyn and I was taken to Pentre Saeson. 

It was a big house surrounded and covered by trees. In the summer you cannot see the house and in the winter it looked not a nice place. Scary movie type. Upon arrival there it didn't seem bad. A games room caught my eye and the pool table. I liked that, little did I know what was coming. The thing that is puzzling- is my social worker seemed to know the manager which was weird as I was the only one from Rochdale. 

I was not there long before the sexual abuse happened. Before it started, I pinched a fiver out of the managers car. I was called to his bedroom and he slapped me across the ear sending my head into a light switch cutting my head. I was told to tell the hospital I fell on the light switch. I got butterfly stitches and returned by the manager who was with me all the time. On the way back I was told that I will be stood in the hallway and told to take everything of except my underpants. Again a very confused and scary time at thirteen. I did as I was told. I was made to stand in the hallway for at least four/five hours and my head was hurting bad.

I just wanted to go to bed. Later I went to bed and fell asleep quickly. It felt like I wasn't asleep long before I felt my quilt being moved, and then felt hands on my underpants. I turned round quick and the manager put his hands over my mouth and give me a stern warning and told to go back to sleep while he played with my private bits. Then he left the bedroom and I just froze then I heard him coming back. He came in the room and I know 100% I heard a camera click, he then covered my privates, straightened my quilt and left the bedroom. That did not stop. 

Also there was two cattle grids on the track up to the home and at nights I used to hear cars coming up the drive. It was very late and I never heard them leave. I was taken to Bryn Alyn every day to school, so I got to see the girl that came with me in the car. We became quite close as friends. She went through hell there at the hands of the owner and manager.

My friend was a prolific self-harmer. She was very destroyed inside, she ended up committing suicide. The owner of Bryn Alyn took great pleasure in telling me she was dead. We use to talk a lot at the tree in Bryn Alyn, on the field. The one with the swing. I never went home to see my parents. In fact I didn't say one word to my dad till I was nineteen, we never spoke at all. Its still not great between me and my parents. They don't know properly what I went through. I have put a few things in this but, there is trips to France, trips to Norfolk Broads on canal boats and camping near Snowdonia.

They were not trips, it was further hell because we just couldn't get away from abuse. I was there for three and half years. I was a little fucker when I was young, pinching cars mostly I was good at it and it always helped when I had to run away. I was always in and out the police station's for pinching something. I was never violent, I never assaulted people, never sold drugs. Just a petty criminal.The truth behind all the trouble is, or happened the first time they put me in the cells. I had the best night’s sleep because I felt safe.

I personally think I was institutionalised from very early on in children's home and I carried it on through my adult life. I have done 18 years behind a prison door mostly single cell. Because of my past in care, prison was the only thing that resembles a human safe. I used it for that in all my criminal years I have never once pleaded not guilty and please believe when I say I was clever enough to beat seventy five per cent of it if I wanted.

The 'joy riding' was an escape for me. A feeling like I was still alive because a lot of me was dead inside. I can’t explain it really but I've had a lot of struggles with drugs and was an addict for two years. I nearly lost my children to the authorities which was the light switch I badly needed in my life. My partner and I pulled our socks up and went on a three year long battle to beat the drugs. Boy did we beat them it was tough really tough but we did it.

I then got myself off methadone and felt very proud of walking into the drug services and saying I don't need their help anymore. It felt good during this time. I had two interviews with operation Pallial and after my second one I had to be a dad. Almost instantly after leaving the police station I had the pleasure that most normal dads take for granted-the pleasure of putting my kids to bed. I swigged at the glass of the well deserved drink I'd poured, sat on my garden chair. Then the realisation of what I had just offloaded hit me. My memories all came flooding back to me like a rolodex, I was having a hyper mania breakdown this lasted about four days.

I ended up leaving my house I don't know why but I was heading for the police station my partner phoned me and asked me to stop and speak to a lady who was a support worker for a family centre. I spoke to her and asked her personally to come and get me. Our social workers manager would not let her. Instead she came with a brand new social worker. I was taken to my drugs worker. I was tested straight away, I was clean. But it’s what was coming out of my mouth that was bothering them. I was taken to the hospital to see the mental crisis team. I was not allowed back home for two days. I was given tablets but after I read the side effects and seen they was a blocker and suppressant contained, I gave them back. I told him I have suppressed and blocked enough, I had to see shrinks every day for ten days.

After two days away from my family I was allowed back home. Upon walking back in my house my son was poorly but he always give me a cuddle even when he is sick. He did not move off the couch. I got straight on the phone and phoned the doctor. He was whisked off to hospital. My son was really sick he had Pneumococcal Meningitis. This brought me down to earth with a bang. My daughter had just beaten Scarlet fever. So I had my hyper mania, my son and just to add a bit more, my partner found out she was pregnant. Tough times, certainly a part of life I won't forget. 

That was nearly two years ago. I have been on therapy about three years. In fact I'm writing this on the train now on my way to a session. I have had three weeks off so I'm quite a bit anxious. I'm starting a couple of things with therapy in the New Year. I'm quite nervous about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) but its moving forward and I feel that is what I and all survivors should do if we choose to.

My memories of children's homes I was in are very clear. I have clear images and memories that stay with me. I remember every person who abused me. Either there proper name or title. Every child I was in Pentre Saeson with, their first and second names and roughly where they are from. I know I haven't mentioned names. I do know them all. Its tough this situation we are all facing but we know the damage abuse causes. Trust is a major problem. I am a different person today. I have not been in trouble for five years and I am clean from drugs. I have the most loving family. My partner and I have four kids and a dog. When I was a child many girls dream of their weddings, boys want to be super heroes and drive fast cars, well my dreams weren't that elaborate.

I have what I dreamed of and that is why I am at the stage of my life now to go and fight these evil monsters, search for justice and protection of children. Because when are people going to realise that children should be children not a commodity and the care system should be what it means care. Because we did not get any care, we got used by everyone for their own selfish gains. The Historical Child Sex Abuse inquiry is being treated as a joke with attempts of cover up. That is why I will gladly speak to peoples tribunal as I feel that is the way forward. I am a very humble man who has been through bad times but I will not stop supporting survivors because we all lived in fear but no more. They have ruined all our childhoods, let's not let them ruin anymore. FULL STOP.
Written by @dharries056 (feel free to follow)





As expected. This notorious and lonely sicko internet troll doesn't miss a chance to attack genuine survivors. Luckily for it, its pushing up daisies.





Haha begging for blog hits by publishing others abuse stories... who is the now?
Followed today with this


I have masses of free web space if you ever need something urgent hosted


A warning to you from me. Watch your backs.

A warning to you from me. Watch your backs.




Thursday, 11 December 2014

++UPDATED++ Sir Peter Morrison/Channel 4/Questions

21.11.2014
Dear Mr Laverty

RE: Channel 4 News, 6 November 2012
I write with reference to your emails concerning your complaint about the above programme. You appear to have contacted us a number of times to chase a reply concerning this complaint. However, other than your most recent email of 12 November, neither myself nor my colleagues have any recollection of receiving these. I would be grateful if you could confirm which email address you sent this correspondence to.

When you submitted your complaint via our web form on 18 December 2013, you received the following response via email:

“Thank you for contacting Ofcom. Your views are important to us as they help to ensure broadcasters follow the rules set out in our codes. These codes set standards for all programmes on TV and radio.
Ofcom assesses each complaint it receives to decide whether it raises a potential issue under its codes.Ofcom will not normally write back to you with the outcome of its considerations.

However, please be assured that if your complaint does raise a potential issue, we will start an investigation. And, whether or not we believe an investigation is required, your comments and feedback are always considered, and all our decisions are published in the Broadcast Bulletin.

Ofcom publishes its Broadcast Bulletin, every fortnight, on our website. This includes the latest decisions about the complaints we’ve received.

If you would like to find out more, you can read:
• issues of the Broadcast Bulletin at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins
• our Consumer Guide at: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2009/12/tvcomplaints.pdf
• our procedures for investigating standards cases http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/guidance/complaints-sanctions/standards
• our procedures for investigating fairness and privacy cases http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/guidance/complaints-sanctions/fairness


As noted above, Ofcom does not normally write back to individuals with the outcome of its considerations but all decisions are published in our fortnightly Broadcast Bulletin.

I can confirm that after careful consideration, we decided that it would not be appropriate to investigate the programme. In accordance with our procedures, this decision was published in Broadcast Bulletin 246 on 20 January 2014 (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/246/obb246.pdf).

Paragraph 1.23 of our procedures for investigating standards cases (see link above) states that complaints should be submitted within 20 working days of broadcast. Additionally, as a terrestrial broadcaster, Channel 4 is required to retain recordings of its output for a period of 90 days following transmission and provide such recordings, upon request, to Ofcom. We are mindful that you submitted your complaint over a year after the programme was broadcast, signficantly exceeding both the timeframe for Ofcom to accept complaints and for Channel 4 to retain and provide Ofcom with a recording for assessment.
Given the above factors, we did not it consider it appropriate to pursue your complaint.

I hope this information is helpful.
Yours sincerely
:: Steve Turner
steven.turner@ofcom.org.uk




Nov 21
Reply 

Dear Mr Turner
To say I'm shocked would be an understatement. You ignore my complaints for months, you ignore my reminders and then inform me that you're not looking into the matter because of time limitations. I wasn't seeking to overrule any legislation. As soon as I became aware of the facts I contacted you. Time scales are irrelevant anyway as the footage is readily available online. The individual who claims to have witnessed an MP picking up boys from a care home has contradicted his fabrications and Channel 4 are not held responsible for knowingly airing of these falsehoods without the slightest of substantiations. Indeed, they've risked much by claiming they "had confirmation" of the interviewees stay at the home, Bryn Estyn. I challenged them to evidence such, as I know only too well the difficulties of obtaining such records.Channel 4 claimed the had such in approximately 2 days. I have the e-mail.


I'm unsure whether your office is completely aware of the seriousness of this item, its complications and after effects. I'll ask you to consider the position further and bare in mind the environment in which we are experiencing regards this subject.

I look forward to your reply




Steven Turner

Nov 21

to me



Dear Mr Laverty
Thank you for your prompt response.
To clarify, the decision not to pursue your complaint owing to timescales was made before the publication of Broadcast Bulletin 246 on 20 January 2014. Your complaint was therefore not ignored, but assessed as per our procedures. I would be grateful if you could supply the email address that you sent your subsequent emails to so that we can attempt to can locate them.


As I explained in my email earlier today, neither myself nor my colleagues were aware of your subsequent emails. This would explain why you have not received a response until now. I can only reiterate that your complaint was made 13 months after the programme you complained about was broadcast. For the reasons outlined in my previous correspondence, we remain of the view that it would not be appropriate to consider your complaint.


With regard to the footage itself, I must stress that the time and medium of broadcast are relevant factors as this determines which rules apply and indeed, which organisation is responsible for considering the complaint. The content of linear television services (such as BBC1, Channel 4, Sky1, ITV etc) is subject to rules in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and Ofcom is responsible for enforcing these rules. Our co-regulatory partner, the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has regulatory jurisdiction over UK-based ‘television-like’ on-demand services which have been notified to ATVOD. The content of such services are subject to ATVOD’s own rules and ATVOD is responsible for enforcing them.

Therefore:

· the broadcast of Channel 4 News on Channel 4 is subject to the rules in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Complaints about this material are asssessed by Ofcom; and

· videos of Channel 4 News articles accessed on-demand are subject to ATVOD’s rules and assessed by ATVOD (provided that they are broadcast on a notified servcie)

To find out more about ATVOD, the services it regulates and to submit a complaint, please visit www.atvod.co.uk

Yours sincerely
:: Steve Turner




Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Compare and Contrast

Anyone thinking the present day Government with all its spiel about wanting to help "survivors" of childhood abuse is actually helping survivors should think again. They don't give a shit. Understand this and then get an idea of why so many voters are angry.

Historical abuse counselling wait 'up to three years'. Victims of historical sexual abuse are having to wait up to three years for counselling, a charity has claimed. It follows a rise of more than 50% in the number of people contacting three of the four Welsh police forces with such complaints over two years. The Survivors Trust - which represents support groups - warned victims could give up trying to find help. The Welsh government said it had given extra funding to relevant charities and would consider giving more. In 2011 the South Wales, North Wales and Gwent forces were contacted by 515 people making complaints of historical sexual abuse, rising to 794 in 2013. Dyfed-Powys Police was unable to provide data.The Survivors Trust, an umbrella group for abuse support groups, said publicity over high profile cases and offenders such as Jimmy Savile had led to a big rise in people seeking help, putting a huge strain on counselling services. It estimated more than 2,000 people were waiting for counselling, with one of its member organisations - New Pathways - saying some people had been waiting up to three years.
Distressed woman
A charity which offers vital support to victims of historic sex abuse fears its future is under threat due to funding cuts. Wrexham-based Stepping Stones, which has had 50 direct referrals since the launch of Operation Pallial, says it is in a “vulnerable” position. Director Joy Dyment has warned that its waiting list will only get longer if it doesn't receive the necessary cash to provide its free, confidential service in Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham

Stepping Stones, which has 20 professionally-qualified counsellors, is concerned about a potential 30% cut in funding by Flintshire as the authority is considering reducing voluntary sector funding by up to 10% in 2015/16, with the potential for further reductions in future years. “It’s putting very small charities like us under a lot of pressure,” said Joy. “It will threaten us if we don’t get replacement funding.“Our waiting list will get bigger and bigger. Charities like ours are vulnerable. It’s my job to look for funding but there is a lot of competition. “I know very well that local authorities are under pressure. 

The 30% cut will be spread over the next three years. I expect other local authorities will follow suit, it will come.” The funding cut couldn't come at a worse time with the increase in victims coming forward in the wake of former children’s home boss Allen’s trial.

It does receive funding from Operation Pallial, but only for those directly referred under the probe into historic child abuse, and a £20,000 one-off payment by the Welsh Government to address the backlog was merely a “drop in the OCEAN”. Joy said: “I now need to sit down with my trustees and see what services we can provide.
The trial and jailing of paedophile John Allen has led to more victims of historic child sex abuse seeking help
“It’s very frustrating, we’re the only charity in North Wales that provides this very specialist counselling. “We don’t have students – we can’t have students – as it’s a complex area where we have to provide a high quality service, and we provide that for free. “We hope that the government are going to take on board that it needs to be sustained. We’re trying to develop a Friends of Stepping Stones to get volunteers to help with fundraising.” Neil Ayling, Chief Officer Social Services for Flintshire council, said: “Flintshire is considering reducing voluntary sector general funding by 10% in 2015/16 with the potential for further reductions. The detail of this has not yet been agreed and it is not proposed that there is a 10% reduction across the board. “Separate funding contributions from all the North Wales authorities for Stepping Stones to assist with the counselling referrals arising out of Operation Pallial will be protected.”

Cardiff's £11m bus station site set for approval
The Work on an £11m bus station in Cardiff is expected to start next year as part of a development plan to revamp the city centre. The new station will be part of the Central Square project which will see BBC Wales move to its new headquarters from Llandaff in 2018. The current station will close in 2015, with temporary stops set up elsewhere. Final approval for the station, which should be completed in 2017, will be sought from the council's cabinet on Monday. Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for planning and sustainability, said: "This strategic development will transform how public transport is delivered in this city and I am pleased to announce that the development is on schedule and the contingency arrangements will be in place by the time that the bus station will close in June 2015."

Monday, 8 December 2014

Empty Nest Syndrome

During the preceding weeks of my 18 year old sons departure to university we spent most of the time together. Me, being the principle domestic in the household and him being the classic ready to go to university lay about. We found ourselves in each other bubbles most days. I got used to it and I liked it. I liked looking at him and quietly praising my wife and I for the job we've done so far. I like feeding him because he enjoyed my attempts very much.

My daughter was 19 years old and she'd moved into her own accommodation some 10 weeks earlier. She only moved so far that I could throw a stone to her front door if I had a prevailing wind behind me. Its a lovely starter home and she's settled well. A few ex-boyfriend teething problems occurred at the start of her new life but they were soon ironed out. She's visits most days and is fed and watered as required.

The first few days of her not being here were strange. Her there, us here and space in between. Her room became a spare room. I couldn't pack her stuff without bumbling out tears. I did manage eventually. Well you have to don't you? Besides I had two more at home.

A few weeks later its big boys turn. He's ready and he's keen to go and experience what comes with being a fresher at university. The journey, just over a 120 miles, was as normal as any other. His 10 year old brother entertained us all the way. Arrival and excitement over the next few hours. Hundreds of other parents delivering their offspring to university. We filled his en-suite room, made his bed. Socks in that drawer, undies in that one, shoes nice and tidy then filled his section of the fridge. We met his fellow freshers and checked out the campus.

University halls these days are like big nurseries. Activities galore and plenty of protection. My sons campus has CCTV all the way from town centre to the Halls of residence. They are monitored  by university security staff 24 hours 7 days a week.Very safe for those first years away from home for the first time. Settling too for the worried parents at home. 

I noticed some parents were tearful as they departed. My wife too began to shed a few. It wasn't until the final goodbyes hugs and kisses that it hit me. For the next 5/6 weeks life wasn't what it should be. or maybe should be. I don't know.

I felt as if there'd been a bereavement in my life. Emptiness, hollow, echoic and still. A gap appeared, a monstrous void I was unable to fill. Staring out the window first thing in the morning became the norm. Watching his younger friends getting off the school bus and having to speedily walk back into the house to prevent anyone from seeing me crumbling into a slobbering heap. There wasn't enough tissue in the house. Then came his room. The dreaded room. Still today its half empty. He stayed with us this weekend and slept in the spare room and it felt strange. His younger brother has claimed the big room. Quite right too. It took me approximately 3 weeks to pack and clear not very much. I kept coming across his personal little notes to himself about being determined and how to ignore the negatives in life. His medals, awards, his Olympic Torch and track suit. All his academic work. Photo's, socks, old trainers, empty deodorants, wrist bands, concert tickets, time-tables, bus passes, school uniform and much more. 18 years of him nearly all fitting in 3 bin bags. Job done, I got as far as outside his door and decided to put them in the attic, next to his sisters. I'll keep them for some time yet.

I guess this is what being a responsible and loving parent involves. Its something my parents have never experienced, nor theirs or theirs before them. I broke the mold that was used by poverty to create me. I've made a new master mold and its being put to use consistently.

I'm not offering advice to anyone about this syndrome, I'm just sharing my experiences of it in the hope that it might allow others to realise that it's perfectly normal for a loving parent to stop dead in the street and start to cry for what looks like, at first glance, no reason. I wasn't warned about the effects of having a bright children, the admiration one feels for them or the heart ache at having to let go when the time's right. There is no book, you have to experience it to understand. There's nothing out there for the vulnerable neither. Lone parents must feel worse than I did. At least I've got my daughter down the road and my 10 year old and my wife here. Not forgetting my dog.

So there it is, my experience of Empty Nest Syndrome. Of course I miss him like an arm but I know he's safe and well fed and prepared for any mishaps. It's having the knowledge of what we've provided him with to deal with the world that allows me to sleep at night. No-one or nothing could ever take that away. 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Twisted Fire Starters?

Anyone know any arsonists?

Studies in America have found the following personality and traits associated with pyromaniacs:

Usually dressed conservatively
Will not look directly at you 
Provokes you, invites hostility
Hesitates before answering questions 
Initially appears considerate
Will make an immediate initial denial
Often left handed bad penmanship 
Pessimistic Stutters when excited 
Lacks commonsense 
Has difficulty in admitting mistakes
Initially appears considerate 
Reared in distressing and pathological environment
Father absent from home 
Mother domineering
Poor academic progress 
Below average intelligence 
Emotionally and psychologically disturbed 
Social and sexual maladjustment
Feelings of inadequacy and insecurity 
Cowardice
Wets the bed often

This next bit drew my attention to recent events. It's as if the researcher has interviewed one of my trolls.

He may wear or feel women's underwear prior to setting the fire. It is not uncommon for the pyromaniac to have a background of sexual offences such as "snow dropping" (stealing women's underwear from clotheslines) or flashing. It could be suggested that, as these offences are non-confrontational, just like lighting a small fire and masturbating, there are some similarities. The offender does not like to directly confront the victim.
The pyromaniac may also be responsible for numerous calls to the fire brigade involving fires or false alarms. This has certainly been the situation in a number of notorious cases both here and overseas.
They nearly all tend to graduate to lighting larger fires to satisfy the compulsion.
Barracato's studies were done in America and on (according to him) the many fire setters that he interviewed. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Police Failures? John Allen-Bryn Alyn-Pallial

John Allen was sentenced to life in prison today. Here. Personally, I'm left asking more questions than I was before Operation Pallial arrested him. I'd like to put these questions to the officers in charge of the many previous police investigations. I'm not alone when it comes to wanting answers. I know many ex-residents in the care systems that are left with more questions than answers.

I was in Cardiff the day Waterhouse's report Lost in Care was released to the public. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and relief. I was with friends and we celebrated being vindicated, being believed and being heard. Because that's how we felt. Or did we? Most of the day was spent at HTV HQ among many staff who had been involved in the abuse scandal for the past 15/20 years. It’s my belief that many of the staff were as relieved as we were. They too considered themselves vindicated and proven to be telling the truth. Maybe we were carried along more with the ambiance of the environment rather than with our own internalised feelings.

The following weeks were an anti-climax. Dullness appeared. The sky looked grey most of the time. I couldn't fathom out why. I didn't bother to examine my thinking. I was studying at university at the time and had things to be getting on with. The next ten years were lived as any other member of society lives. Work, rest and play. All my time and energy was devoted to building a secure family environment within which my children could grow up safely and with solid foundations. It's ongoing.

I'd moved on. I existed as a graduate, a father and a husband and employee. Residential care abuses were a thing of the past. I still bumped into others who were in care with me and we used mention this and that but I wasn't the "spearhead" of victims I used to be.

November 2012, NewsNight escapade. All bets are off and time is turned back. Pallial is announced and the phone starts ringing again. Any temptations to appear as a spokesman never arrived. I took to social media as an outlet for my thoughts, concerns and attempts to obtain answers. Mistake? Probably, given what we've endured as a family because of my mistaken beliefs. Social media isn't always social. In fact much of time it's nothing but anti-social.

Much of the time the police use the old media outlets to disseminate the information they want out there. Old media outlets are happy to oblige. It’s how they operate, its how they've always operated, especially in this part of the world. Nepotism is rife and I now believe it played a large role with the previous police investigations into the abuse of countless numbers of children. In short, I believe the previous criminal investigations weren't carried out with the intentions of catching abusers and preventing them from offending further. No, I believe they were expeditionary inquiries into the scale of the "care home abuse problem".

Furthermore, I believe as soon as the police grasped the enormity and scale of the 'problem' the work of concealing it began. Minimum effort into uncovering abuses and maximum effort into burying the issue. Most of the complainants, or to use a more accepted and modern title Victims, were perceived as undesirables jumping on the bang wagon of compensation. Thieves liars and beggars who weren't worth shit to any serving police officer. The Shit of society. Low lives, thugs, shoplifting benefit scroungers who deserved nothing from anyone. They'd been in care so all theories fitted. The same perspectives were/are held by most of those similar industries. Probation, health services, prison authorities, educational environs, employment and not forgetting the media. Just who the fuck are these whingers wanting compensation? Get rid.

John Allen's convictions prove the old guard wrong. Misinterpretations, whether innate or subjectively gained have been evidenced on an oceanic scale. Biases of society against ex-care residents have and continue to cause thousands of victims of abuse incalculable and continual suffering. Those who've died won't get any pleasure from John Allen going to jail. The police's attitude towards ex-residents is slowly, and I consider forcibly, being changed. Why did the latest twenty or so victims have to endure the past two decades without being heard? What about all the other cases in the pipeline? Why didn't north Wales police succeed where Pallial has? Will Operation Orarian answer these questions? When will the victims of the police failures get closure? Is there closure? Mark never had closure. How many more need to die without ever having their stories told? Ergo... let the healing begin.



Finally the biggest questions for me are-

Will insurance companies always have the last say on all matters of child abuse?

Will the fabrication and destruction of files ever be uncovered?

Finally, and taking into consideration the time scales involved with these issues, does the present Limitation Act need to be reformed?


Confirmation if needed

Friday, 28 November 2014

For Sonia

For Sonia. Can I be number one on your list too? I'll keep trying