Why turning a blind eye is no longer acceptable

We heard yesterday from the long-awaited national enquiry into Cyril Smith that the Westminster establishment ‘turned a blind eye’ to child abuse allegations.

Smith and other high-profile MPs were protected from police action by their parties as their whips tried to avoid damaging ‘gossip and scandal’, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) concluded in a damning assessment of political culture spanning years.

Institutions ‘significantly failed in their responses to allegations’ of child abuse, it finds, criticising former Liberal leader Lord Steel for failing to pass on claims against Smith – even though he believed them to be true – because it was ‘past history’.

Claims of abuse by Cyril Smith – including in children’s homes in Rochdale – date back to the 1960s, when police originally looked into allegations made against the then-councillor, later to become MP and senior figure within the Liberal Party.

That investigation was dropped and despite claims of his abuse continuing for decades afterwards, only after the politician died in 2010 did Greater Manchester Police confirm that had he still been alive there would have been sufficient evidence to charge him.

The IICSA inquiry found that both in his case and in the those of other suspected MPs, including the late Conservative Sir Peter Morrison, parties and other institutions effectively covered them up.

This report has called for an understanding as to why these allegations are effectively ignored or covered up at the time. In the case of Cyril Smith, it was clear that political expediency was favoured over uncovering the truth.

Throughout the years Intersol have been working with their clients to help them to get to a quicker, reliable, and more accurate outcome from their investigations. Sometimes this has meant that the client has had to face up to the truth and ensure that steps are put in place and action taken against those who commit an offence. Gone are the days when ignorance and cover-ups are the norm, and indeed organisations will ultimately benefit from adopting this transparent and robust approach.

Contact the team at info@intersolglobal.com to find out how we can help you better manage long term risk to you and your organisation.