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In The Name Of The Children, Sunday November 26 2000

We had a large response to the issues raised in the programme. Many people asked for further information.

Fire In Ice is a Merseyside self help project run by and for the male survivors of institutional abuse. For further information, call their helpline on 0151 707 2614 on Mondays, 5-9pm

FACT (Falsely Accused Care Workers and Teachers) runs a campaign for a review of the Police methods of gathering allegations of abuse in Children's Homes. They are supporting the Shuttleworth family in their case. For further information visit their website at http://www.factnotfiction.org.uk


A very disturbing but interesting piece. I found it refreshing that the BBC chose to examine the other side of the coin in respect of terrible sexual crimes against young people. It can be just as terrible to be falsely accused. It also complemented very effectively the recent Newsnight report that lead to the arrest of two horrid men involved in that dreadful paedophile ring. Well done.
Philip S Hall
Northampton

I have taken the time to read your comments page and most of those replies are the response's from people who have friends or family that have been accused - why not from a victim of that system that you seem to uphold. 33 years of suffering - how much do you think that's worth then? This man's case may be dodgy but there were a lot of boys and no doubt girls that suffered abuse in these homes.
Gary Farr
South Wales

From time to time the lies of people who make false allegations of abuse in residential care are exposed. However, I have never heard of any of these people being prosecuted for wasting police time or perjury. The profits to be gained from making false allegations are considerable and this would seem to be a risk free crime as compared, say to burglary, assault etc.
Sue Wiseman
Liverpool

Thank you for this week's programme on the subject of people who may have been falsely accused of child abuse. I am pleased you were brave enough to say whet many others have though - namely that the lure of compensation can lead to wrongful allegations, being made. The one criticism I would make of the presentation of the case is that the convictions of the accusers are not really relevant. Even criminals have a right to live their lives free of abuse.
Eileen McBride
Glasgow

Unbelievable. On the basis of the evidence collected by the BBC Roy Shuttleworth should never have convicted, or EVEN charged with these offences. The accusers should be the ones sent to prison and Mr Shuttleworth should be compensated for the slur on his character and the emotional trauma he suffered. I am left speechless at the apparent incompetence of the police investigative procedures. Top marks to Panorama and 1 out of 10 to the Police and Social Services.
Rodney
Rugby

I've worked with young offenders for the last 16 yrs and they do lie. That is why female staff should be present when a male member of staff enters a residents room. So that the young person cannot make any allegations. It's a terrible shame that this has happened to this unfortunate man. I'm very sorry for him.
Sandra Davis
Hillingdon

This is the one programme I have seen on the BBC this year that does not make me begrudge every penny of my TV license. Excellent reporting and a very balanced account contrary to other comments in this forum. Having read many of the notices posted here it doesn't surprise me at all that innocent men end up behind bars. I have worked with children of all ages in an educational capacity and have encountered teenagers so filled with hate they would do anything or say anything to empower themselves. In Mr Shuttleworth's case they have destroyed his life. Whether the goal is money/compensation or simply to get back at someone who was once an authority figure it takes little imagination to see that damaged young people angry at the world will strike out with no remorse. I send my sympathy to the family members who have had such a terrible thing to face, more than most of us will ever have to go through.
Myles Faraday
London

What is the point of giving compensation to victims of crimes such as child abuse? Unlimited help to overcome their trauma should be available to any victim of crime but what real comfort is financial gain in these circumstances? It is a very dangerous temptation for people to make false allegations, especially those who have been in institutions where they feel hard done by and may also bear grudges against members of staff. The issue of compensation needs to be reviewed in this country. This is another Americanism creeping into our society whereby financial gain is perverting justice.
RGC
Merseyside

My husband was arrested last year accused of multiple horrifying offences against girls in a residential school some eighteen years ago. Crimes which he did not commit. This is actually the third time that similar allegations have been made relating to the same period of time. Before we watched the Panorama programme we naively thought that he was awaiting a fair trial and that because he had done nothing, there would be no problem. The stresses it brings on a whole family are unimaginable. Your life goes on stop and your security vanishes. From being normal people who have never had anything to do with the Police, you are suddenly dragged into a totally different world. Something MUST be done to help this situation. If FACT's objectives were successful, it would make a huge impact on the misery suffered by innocent families. Our prayers go out to Roy Shuttleworth's family; to all those in prison who are innocent; and for all those awaiting trial. Remember that God is King of Justice and Truth and Comfort.
MM
Pembroke

I was so shocked by this Panorama programme on Roy Shuttleworth that I've just got out of bed and dressed, (1:45am), to send this message. I will also be writing to the Home Secretary, in the morning, to demand immediate action. There seems to be no end in sight, of innocent people being wrongly imprisoned in Britain. It appears to me that fundamental faults throughout almost the whole of the British judicial system is contributing to this country having the largest prison population in Western Europe. My heart goes out to Roy Shuttleworth and his family, particularly his daughter, I was unable to not shed some tears for them all.
Richard J Keirle
Bridgwater, Somerset

Like 91 colleagues from the young offender institution in which I worked, allegations have been made against me. I have been charged and am due to stand trial next year. Two of my accusers allege sexual crimes against them. The law which allows the police and Crown Prosecution Service to investigate and bring such allegations to trial was introduced specifically to enable evidence to be given by children in a family where abuse has (allegedly) taken place to give ┐similar fact┐ evidence. That law is now being used for other purposes. I am exceedingly pessimistic about the outcome of my trial next year. Based upon the past record of convictions of colleagues I fully expect to be found guilty. I don┐t know how I will cope with that because I know that I am innocent. The British legal system does not allow me to take a lie detector test (to which I would willingly submit) and does not require that my accusers take one. Of one thing I am absolutely certain. There can be no justice in these witch-hunts. No matter whether I walk free from court having been acquitted, I shall still be presumed ┐suspect┐. I shall probably be unemployed, in considerable debt (I have to pay part of my legal aid, despite being on a low wage) and in poor health from the stress. Yet I will have no redress. My accusers will be men of straw and I will not have the financial ability to pursue a claim for malicious prosecution. One of the previous posters to this forum suggested that compensation should be denied and justice granted. This was done in Canada and, hey presto, allegations dropped by ninety five per cent! I am sorry to say that I regret ever having undertaken work in the field of young offenders. These youngsters, now men in their thirties and forties, are wreaking revenge on a system which, in many ways, failed them. We are now firmly in a ┐blame┐ culture in which every excess or deficiency has to be laid at the feet of someone else. To anyone thinking of undertaking work in this field I would say, ┐Think again. You risk your livelihood, your liberty and even your life." I know that some of the young offenders I have met along the way who have made good in life through their own strength of character and the support of others. This despite a system which treated them poorly (25 years ago, remember). On that matter I would point out another, sinister, problem with these false allegations. As the truth becomes known (and some of it will), those who have genuine allegations will suffer, because their abusers can appeal to the number of false allegations and may well be free to abuse again.
D
North of England

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