Just a few days after the sentencing of Peter Wright, the former Headmaster of Caldicott School, at Amersham Crown Court on 6/2/14, Cheryl Gillan MP secures a meeting between Tom and the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove. Hansard: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-02-10b.555.5#g560.6
Cheryl Gillan MP Chesham + Amersham and a signatory to our petition asked Mr Gove the following question:
‘The Secretary of State will be aware of the sentence handed out in Amersham Crown court last week to the former head teacher of the Caldicott preparatory school after years of abuse of children in his care. Will the Secretary of State join me in paying tribute to my constituent Mr Tom Perry, who was brave enough to speak out about his own abuse? Will he agree to meet Mr Perry and me to discuss the possibility of mandatory reporting, as Mr Perry believes it would better protect our children in the future?’ Mr Gove’s reply is in the link: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-02-10b.555.5#g560.6
The meeting with the Secretary of State occurred just 17 days later at the Department of Education.
Mandatory Reporting is essential in order to provide greater likelihood that child sexual abuse disasters such as Caldicott School are avoided. Tom speaks to Ian Lee at BBC Three Counties Radio the morning after sentencing of Peter Wright:
Two days before the sentencing hearing of Peter Wright, the former headmaster of Caldicott School, Tom was interviewed by Jon Snow who asked about the dynamics of abuse and the progress on Mandatory Reporting. During the time Tom was in the Channel4 studio Hugh Henry who had abused pupils at Gayhurst school in Gerrards Cross as well as Caldicott and who featured on the same indictment as Wright, committed suicide by stepping onto the railway tracks at Amersham.
The Wright case finally permitted reporting restrictions to be lifted and the scale of abuse at Caldicott started to see daylight. There were other teachers against whom complaints were made, many were by then dead. This included Peter Hill the former Deputy Head to Wright, who committed suicide some years before Wright was first charged.
Here is a chronology of court appearances, indictments, and outcomes:
- See the marvellous article by Peter O’Brian in the Toronto Globe and also his excellent interview on CBC
- Complainants in the Geddes case came forward following the broadcast of the documentary Chosen
- Complainants in the Addrison case came forward following the broadcast of the documentary Chosen
- Complainants in Wright trails 1 + 2 came forward following the broadcast of the documentary Chosen
- Each of the five complainants in the 2003 indictment gave evidence of bad character in both Trial 1 + 2 of Wright
- See photo below this picture and link to CPS
Whenever an inquiry starts one can expect only to bring a proportion of perpetrators to court. And so it was with Caldicott. Following the broadcast of ‘Chosen,’ a number of former pupils complained of sexual abuse by former Deputy Head George Hill who committed suicide some time before Wright was first charged in 2003. It is speculated sight loss contributed to his decision.
Restriction applied for large periods of time. Men silenced for decades where silenced once again. Reporting restrictions on the the cases of Addrison and Geddes and Henry applied until Wright’s conviction. Finally the Caldicott cases were reported:
Here is the interview with Jon Snow.
The Caldicott case which was reported extensively by Andrew Norfolk of the Times, seemed to be the catalyst for what followed. Just a few weeks later this article appeared, and many more followed.
You can read more articles about the trials and see the documentary that assisted get the cases to court here
Under increasing pressure from our sustained campaign for the introduction of Mandatory Reporting the NSPCC felt the need to clarify its firmly held position against mandatory reporting which you can see here.
CEOP Thematic Assessment The Foundations of Abuse: A thematic assessment of the risk of CSA by adults in institutions
CEOP Thematic Assessment The Foundations of Abuse | Paragraph 87 : It may be necessary to ensure those working in any capacity in institutional settings come forward around safeguarding issues via some form of mandatory reporting.
The Home Affairs Committee report: Child Sexual Exploitation and GroomingReport suggested Mandatory Reporting be considered – Paragraph 130: ‘We recommend that the Government commission work to examine the feasibility of introducing a statutory duty to co-operate and share information to tackle child sexual exploitation. We also recommend that the Government examine the Florida Protection of Vulnerable Persons Act passed in 2012 in order to ascertain whether the mandatory reporting of child abuse could, and should, be implemented in England and Wales.’
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary – in its report ‘Mistakes Were Made’ suggested Mandatory Reporting should be considered in recommendation 3: ‘We consider that a system of mandatory reporting should be examined whereby those who, in the course of their professional duties, become aware of information or evidence that a child is or has been the victim of abuse should be under a legal obligation to notify their concerns to others.’