Prevent Child Abuse

By Mark Leech, Editor: The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales.

As a survivor of sustained sexual abuse as an 8-12 year old by those UK state employees into whose ‘Care’ I was entrusted, some of whom much much later were jailed, I wish sometimes they had murdered me in my cot.

The devastation is lifelong, the impact manifests itself in failed relationships and never, ever, quite trusting anyone, ever, again.

Years of counselling have equipped me with skills to recognise that when the old emotions of mistrust are suddenly ignited within me, and they can come out of nowhere, to recognise they relate to experiences 50 years ago and not the person I am interacting with – but its an uphill struggle.

Mark Goldring is the CEO at Oxfam, the original abuse may not have happened on his watch, he joined the charity much later, but his failure to reassess Oxfam incident logs when he took over, and to demand transparency at that time, means effectively he is responsible; he owns it – but to focus on Mark Goldring is to miss the important point here.

Focus needs to be on supporting those Haitian children and young adults who will, like me, go through a life of mistrust, where their childhood experience causes them to constantly strive to see ulterior motives and hidden agendas in the actions of others – motives and agendas which seem so real but which in reality are all so often simply not there at all.

To focus on Mark Goldring is to exert the same kind of bullying and abuse by media that Oxfam employees exerted over those they were sent to help; and two wrongs, however wrong, will never make a right.

Let him get on with the job of cleaning up the charity I say, focus on providing the support to its victims, because if my experience is anything to go by, they are going to need it much more than Mark Goldring ever will.

Personally I trust the Trustees of Oxfam, if they have confidence in Mark Goldring, then that’s good enough for me – they know all the facts that, despite the huge coverage, the truth is – we don’t.