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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Webchat with Tom Watson MP, Thursday 4 September, 1-2pm

(126 Posts)
VikkiMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Aug-14 16:55:41

Labour MP Tom Watson is joining us at MNHQ for a webchat nextThursday 4 September, from1-2pm, to talk about the developing situation concerning allegations of child sexual abuse, especially those relating to people in positions of power in Westminster and beyond.

Tom is Labour MP for West Bromwich East and, earlier this year, he launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister to establish a national enquiry into allegations of organised child sex abuse, after it emerged that Home Office files – relating to allegations which may have involved senior Westminster and Whitehall figures in the 1970s and 1980s – had gone missing.

Unfortunately, parliamentary privilege does not extend to Mumsnet webchats - so please don't post allegations about named or identifiable individuals; we may have to delete posts that do. And please remember our usual webchat guidelines:

1. One question per member plus a follow-up question if appropriate, i.e. once you've had a response.
2. Keep your question brief
3. Don't be disappointed if your specific question doesn't get answered and do try not to keep posting "What about me?".
4. Do be civil/polite.

PausingFlatly Tue 02-Sep-14 17:35:05

Wow. OK, will have to think of something to ask, but meanwhile Tom, thank you so very much for making time to squeeze us in.

mignonette Tue 02-Sep-14 18:05:56

I think you are a brave and honorable man and hugely respect you for what you are doing. I have worked with so many people with mental illness who have endured sexual and other abuse during their lives and know what a blight it casts.

I have no questions other than how do you cope with the effects upon your own psyche of hearing such distressing experiences and the feelings of helplessness this can induce? I got clinical and management supervisions plus regular debriefs with psychologists attached to my workplace. Do you have anybody you can go to?

Thank you for your efforts. I hope that time will see all those who perpetrated such hideous acts, dealt with in the courts.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 02-Sep-14 18:06:35

Fab news! Thanks MMHQ smile

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 02-Sep-14 19:45:40

Marking my spot, I'll come back later with my (well thought out) question...

LumpySpacedPrincess Tue 02-Sep-14 20:32:53

Hi Tom, I'm sure many more articulate posters will be along in a minute but until then. smile

I've been reading about this for a while and I'm shocked. Really shocked. I feel that a lot of people that were supposed to protect our children are actually protecting something far more sinister. But this happens on a smaller scale in every single town and village, we know it does but some people never have to answer for their actions.

My question is what do we do? What can all of us do to make every last person who committed abuse or covered it up accountable, no matter how high up they are.

Darkesteyes Tue 02-Sep-14 21:12:57

I cant think of anything to ask at the moment but thankyou for taking the time to do this Tom I hugely admire what you are doing. We have an intermittent internet connection at the moment but i will try to be on this webchat.

WhistlingPot Tue 02-Sep-14 21:47:58

Wow! Excellent news - well done & thanks mnhq.

Tom, who would you like to now see take the inquiry forwards and are you confident that we will now get the investigation that's needed?

And a follow up question if allowed as may not be around on Thurs. What is the biggest hinderance to any inquiry in your opinion?

Thankyou for coming on MN. smile

BeyondRepair Tue 02-Sep-14 21:58:44

Not sure how we do this but yes huge thanks to you and the other handful of MPs who have taken up this baton.

I am very concerned about what is happening right now to protect children in care homes, right now at this very minuet, I believe the company entrusted to our childrens care is rather dubious GS4 security company.

What checks and measures are in place to ensure this abuse of the most vulnerable in our society is being stopped now.

Also the children in the care homes past and present ( Rotherham scandals) can speak out for themselves at some point, some of these children tried to tell the police what was going on.

What about the vulnerable who are not able to express themselves ie those in homes with LD.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us.

BeyondRepair Tue 02-Sep-14 21:59:40

Oh yes and the police force in Rotherham, will they be subjected to intense scrutiny as to why they never acted to protect the children.

Will have a think, but just marking my place for now smile

Whitershadeofpale Wed 03-Sep-14 12:17:14

Really pleased that this is happening. Alomg with everyone else I'd like to thank Tom for his amazing and unrelentless work on this.

My question is:

Who do you think should chair the inquiry and do you think, as I do, that a full Hillsborough style enquiry is the best chance of uncovering the truth?

scallopsrgreat Wed 03-Sep-14 14:35:23

Hi Tom, thanks for coming. It is appreciated.

The focus on Rotherham appears to centred around race when it is known that there are plenty of groups of white men grooming children and systematically performing sexual violence on them. Why do you think that few people are having the discussion about the fact that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are male, in the case of Rotherham and pretty much all other sexual violence cases? Do you think an inquiry might actually name this as a problem?

SarahThane Wed 03-Sep-14 14:38:05

Agree, but not a Hillsbourough 'inquiry' like the other ones, a proper one, like all the new inquiries are, which get overturned a few years later, and then there's a new one and the organisations who have the power say 'that was in the past, we're not like that now.' And so on, and so on, and so on. Focking winkers.

MichellePolitico Wed 03-Sep-14 15:26:49

Hi Tom

Back in June you led the fight for a inquiry for Child Abuse to be investigated by the Home Office. However, this investigation seems to have become static. Do you agree, particularly with the full details published of Rotherham that it is now time to step back up to the platform a push for an inquiry into child abuse across both national and local government institutions. Rotherham's report covered for 1997, but the rot must have already been there.

Will we see you fighting for this inquiry once Parliment resumes?

bigkidsdidit Wed 03-Sep-14 15:39:33

Do you think we need to have a Macpherson-type inquiry into how police forces in Britain (and care services, council offices etc) are institutionally sexist?

SarahThane Wed 03-Sep-14 16:46:17

Inquiry-schmichquiry. We could write them ourselves. Stuff 'em.

SarahThane Wed 03-Sep-14 16:58:20

Dear Tom, do you agree organisations have trouble listening and what can someone do if they're having trouble being heard by an organisation?

sunnyrosegarden Wed 03-Sep-14 19:25:56

Oh, brilliant!

Hello. No question, but just wanted to say what an fantastic job you are doing, Tom. I have followed you on Twitter and Facebook for a while, and am just so pleased that you have the guts to ask the difficult questions.

Will be watching with interest.

sunnyrosegarden Wed 03-Sep-14 19:32:49

Actually, I do have a question blush...

I simply do not understand why we, as an entire country, are not screaming from the rooftops! Even on Mumsnet, we have frequently questioned why so few of us are actually discussing this.

Do you find this too? Are people actually listening?

Thank you.

TrickyB4 Wed 03-Sep-14 22:21:38

Hi Tom, I am trying to find out more about a "disclosure timescale" on a sentencing guideline to do with a CSA crime. I have tried to get media attention with this, as well as contacting MPs but to no avail, so I have started a petition here - links enclosed to 1956 SoA and respective guidelines.

The MoJ have twice replied to me stating they will do nothing & basically "tough luck" for victims who did not disclose within 12 months, quoting article 7 of ECHR ( as a reason why they will not remove the 12 months from the old guidelines, but I think it could be challenged and removed via "parliamentary sovereignty" (Ex Post facto Law).

My question is, with potentially hundreds of abusers having walked free because of this 12 month timescale and with more offenders that will walk free going forward, how can this 12 month timescale in the guidelines be realistically challenged and removed - I am one small person with not much "clout"?

With Rotherham being in the news recently, and all the other cases of abuse that has happened over the last 20 years plus coming to light, we should not be failing victims so catastrophically in this way via a loophole that should not be part of guidelines - this is inexcusable. Any answers or help with getting this challenged would be very gratefully received (and anyone wishing to add their name to this petition would also be appreciated).

Thank you

Greenrememberedhills Wed 03-Sep-14 22:49:54

Tom, you did sterling work on the hacking scandal and now on CSA.

You have respect where most MPs don't. Please keep shouting about the CSA issue. Many people suspect a wide ranging problem, and one involving people in various positions of power.

My own view about Rotherham is that whilst on this occasion most of the perpetrators were Asian, the issue is not a race one, and also involves plenty of people in positions of power.

comfortmewithapples Wed 03-Sep-14 23:35:19

I just can't believe that the "powers that be" - eg the House of Lords and the House of Commons - can allow the full truth about routine sexual abuse of children in state-run children's homes to come out.

Do you honestly believe that all those who abused the most vulnerable of children will be called to account? Or will the crimes be attributed almost entirely to people who are now dead?

Hendricksandcucumber Wed 03-Sep-14 23:53:35

Dear Tom,

Thank you for coming to do the webchat. My question is, in an ideal world, how would you alter the current system to try to ensure nothing of this scale happens again?

Darkesteyes Thu 04-Sep-14 01:26:04

Please can there be a module taught at school (it could be called Relationship Psychology) whereby children can learn about consent and boundaries and warning signs to recognise when something is developing into abuse and/or an abusive relationship.

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