Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Her Appearance Is an Insult to the Scores of Children She Failed

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Her Appearance Is an Insult to the Scores of Children She Failed

Article excerpt


by Liz Davies the social worker who blew the whistle on the Islington child abuse scandal

IT IS a tragedy that something as important as this Green Paper should be so marred at its inception by the sullied reputation of the person charged with its implementation.

For there is no doubt that if anyone other than Margaret Hodge was Minister for Children, we would be treated to a much-hyped, well-trailed launch.

Instead, she has been sidelined for the announcement to minimise adverse publicity and head off further calls for the disgraced minister's resignation.

For make no mistake, Mrs Hodge, who allowed horrific child abuse to go unchecked in Islington when she was its leader, is the last person who should be heading up anything to do with children at risk.

I know this firsthand because I was a senior social worker at Islington from 1986-92 when Margaret Hodge was its leader.

Back then, I, with David Cofie, my neighbourhood manager, tried to warn Mrs Hodge, both verbally and in writing, that systematic child sex abuse was happening in Islington care homes and in the community.

Mrs Hodge's callous response was to push it under the carpet. She refused to take our findings seriously and denigrated our professional efforts to protect the children. As a result, children who might have been saved were left at the mercy of their abusers.

Two and a half years later, when the Standard exposed the Islington child sex abuse scandal in 1992, her response was to deny all knowledge and accuse the Standard of "gutter journalism".

Yet we knew, and now the British public knows too, that she had been informed of what was happening from the start. It took five years and an independent report to elicit anything other than denial from Mrs Hodge. I was the original anonymous whistleblower whose information led to the Standard investigation. …

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