Abuse survivor’s new fight for justice

By Michael Upton | 07/12/2017

Abuse survivor’s new fight for justice

A CAMPAIGNING child sex abuse survivor is bidding to change a law which means council officials cannot be held accountable for their behaviour just a few months after leaving office.

The survivor, known as Elizabeth, wants to force an amendment to the 1972 Local Government Act, which frees officials from any responsibility for possible misconduct three months after moving on from their roles.

It follows the publication of reports by law firm Gowling in September which found no single officer could be held to account over the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.

Former council leader Roger Stone, children’s services director Joyce Thacker and ex-chief executive Ged Fitzgerald were among those who refused to take part.

Elizabeth also wants pension laws to be “given a total makeover” as she feels it is unfair officers implicated in wrongdoing can still go on to pick up their pensions.

“What we have seen here is people declining to speak and being able to walk away and get their pensions,” she said.

“It can’t be right that is up to the next local authority they work for to decide if whether to investigate or not.”

A petition Elizabeth launched online in the wake of the Gowling reports attracted more than 18,000 supporters, and she said she wanted to recognise that support by fighting on for justice.

The survivor said she had already received the backing of Rotherham Borough Council leader Chris Read, who criticised past officers and councillors who refused to be interviewed by Gowlings, and was seeking a meeting with police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings.

Elizabeth has launched a new petition calling for supporters to back her proposed change in the law, which you can find at http://chn.ge/2kqHt3H.

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