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29 September 2016, 11:23
James On Why The Child Abuse Inquiry Matters So Much
"With a heart that I think you can tell from my voice is so heavy...I'm wondering whether this is going to fall apart like a cheap suit."
James O'Brien has taken dozens of heartbreaking calls from abuse survivors and that's why the crisis engulfing the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry has affected him so much. This is his take on why we have to get it right - for those survivors.
Victims' groups have reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that lead lawyer Ben Emerson has been suspended from the Inquiry, the latest blow to it. The third chair of the Inquiry stepped down this summer, citing a "legacy of failure" of the investigation, which was set up by Theresa May during her time as Home Secretary.
James explained why the latest scandal to hit the Inquiry was so heartbreaking for the survivors of abuse: "Because of all the men and women who queued up to tell me that they believed that the corridors of power in this country have historically contained some disgusting individuals, who have done disgusting things to entirely innocent and blameless children.
"Because those corridors were so well populated and those echelons of society were so high, these men, these women, these broken children just couldn't believe they'll ever get justice.
"Today, with a heart that I think you can tell from my voice is so heavy, I'm wondering whether they were right.
"Whether this is going to fall apart, like a cheap suit."
James then focused on why trust was the key issue here - as victims' groups report they fear trust in the inquiry is being lost.
"If, as a child, you have that most important of bonds broken so completely, you lose the ability to trust on a scale that the rest of us can never truly understand...to know that you can't trust, especially if a parent was involved, or a priest, or a figure of authority...you never get fixed, until you get believed."