Letter in Sunday Tribune, 27 November 2005
LOVE supports all abuse victims MAY I compliment Mick Clifford on his excellent article on myself and my work with the LOVE charity (Tribune 2, 20 November).
However, I would like to reply to the comment Colm O'Gorman of One in Four made in the article.
"The way they conduct their campaign and have evolved is worrying. They make serious allegations yet don't bring them to the guards. If somebody is falsely accused they are certainly entitled to support, but I would question their approach."
At the very least, it's very rude to make questionable comments to the media stating one is "worried" about any conduct of another support group without first contacting that group to discuss the "worries".
What exactly does Colm find "worrying" about LOVE and the way we conduct our campaign? What exactly does Colm find "worrying" about our "evolution"?
To state those who maintain they have false allegations against them have not gone to the guards is completely inaccurate. A number of our members have made reports to the guards. In case he's not aware there is a case in the High Court at present. If Colm approached us first, we may have been able to prevent him making inaccurate statements.
LOVE have now and always will support the abused. Some of our members fall into this category, and their very real anger at those making false and fraudulent allegations has a right to be expressed.
LOVE have now and will always support the accused if they maintain they are innocent of the allegations against them.
LOVE do not and never will support those making false or fraudulent allegations for malicious or financial reasons. All of us involved in this area should be working together to the benefit of those abused, and the falsely accused. They are not mutually exclusive.
Florence Horsman Hogan, 10 Seaview Woods, Shankill, Co Dublin.
FALSE ABUSE CLAIMS AND THE RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS REDRESS BOARD
Letter in Irish Times, 9 September 2005
Madam, - In whose interest does Colm O'Gorman, director of One in Four launch, such a petty attack on the Let Our Voices Emerge charity (September 5th)?
And in whose interest does he imply the redress board system is working well?
Certainly not in the interest of those of us from the institutions who have had to stand back and watch our carers (both religious and lay) as well as our fellow inmates fall foul of a compensation system that requires such a low level of proof that it is virtually impossible to prove innocence.
I take issue with the statement: "There is no question of any individual being found guilty or responsible for an act of abuse and there is no question of a person's name being damaged publicly". The obvious question there would be, "Why, then, is compensation awarded, and why must a person be named?"
Perhaps, not being from an institution, Mr O'Gorman may not be aware of the humiliation and frustration those accused (inmates accusing each other as well as carers) go through. Poor payment for the sacrifices the majority of them made for us.
The compensation system has already been proven flawed in Canada and Wales in that "the genuinely abused are seen as defrauding the state, the falsely accused are left with ruined lives, and the [ taxpaying] public left confused as regards to the extent abuse did or did not happen in the homes"(Kauffman/House of Commons report). To attempt to deny us the right to speak out is to deny those who did suffer abuse the right not to see defrauders using their real pain for financial gain.
If Mr O'Gorman is sufficiently experienced with the RIRB as to advocate it, he should be perfectly aware that it is formed in such a way as to make it impossible for us to take a criminal case against anyone making allegations.
However, what we can and will be doing is fighting the redress system as the largest organised denial of a person's constitutional right to their good name, and one of the greatest (legalised) injustices our Government has ever perpetuated. - Yours, etc,
FLORENCE HORSMAN HOGAN, PRO, Love, Shankill, Co Dublin.http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2005/0909/1122072866776.html
Allegations of False Abuse Claims
Letter in The Irish Times - Monday, September 5, 2005
For about two years now the organisation Love - which initially said its mandate was to speak of its members' positive experiences of institutional care but which has now morphed into an organisation that claims to represent an undisclosed number of people who have allegedly been falsely accused of, as yet, undisclosed allegations of child sexual abuse - has publicly stated that it has evidence of false and therefore fraudulent claims submitted to the Residential Institutions Redress Board.
It is of course possible that where a system exists that might be criminally defrauded, unscrupulous individuals might indeed attempt to perpetrate such fraud. However, there is no evidence that fraud has been perpetrated.
Indeed it would appear that the systems built into the RIRB are working well. Of the 5,111 applications received at the end of 2004, one case so far has been referred to An Garda Síochána for investigation. As a result of that investigation no further action was taken (RIRB Annual Report, 2004). The whole premise upon which Love intends to take an action against the RIRB may be fundamentally flawed.
Section 11(12) of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 states: "The making of an award to an applicant, notwithstanding a conflict between the evidence given by the applicant and a relevant person, shall not constitute a finding of fact relating to fault or negligence on the part of the relevant person." There is no question of any individual being found guilty or responsible for an act of abuse and there is no question of a person's name being damaged publicly.
As an organisation committed to working to address and respond to the very real trauma of child sexual abuse, One in Four would not hesitate to report an attempt to exploit such trauma. Our stated policy is to report any evidence of fraudulent claims to the relevant authorities.
Since the first time that Love made this totally unsubstantiated statement, we have called for it to disclose the detail of this fraud to the Garda so that this alleged crime could be investigated and those responsible prosecuted. It is the responsibility of every citizen of this State to report information or evidence of any crime to the Garda. We ask again that Love live up to this responsibility and hand over any evidence of any alleged criminal offence without further delay. - Yours, etc,
COLM O' GORMAN,
Director, One in Four,