Our ultimate goal has always been for there to be an independent inquiry into the Jesus Army/Jesus Fellowship. To help with that, we really do need the authorities to be part of the discussion and be made aware of our stories, so Karen got in contact with the Northamptonshire Children’s Safeguarding Board to ask for a meeting. This meeting was organised and took place on the 10th of April. The Independent Chair of the Board was there, plus the business manager of the safeguarding board, two representation’s from Northamptonshire Police and a Strategic Manager of Northamptonshire County Council (who also has responsibility for the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Board)
They took this meeting very seriously (this is evidenced by who they had organised to be round the table, plus the meeting was an hour and a half ).
We provided those at the meeting with a comprehensive amount of information and we left the meeting feeling that our objectives had been met.
One of the most significant actions from the meeting is that the Chair has written to the lead of IICSA (Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse) to ask if they will take our case on. We have tried to get this to happen before, but have never been successful, but for the Chair of a Children’s Safeguarding Board to ask the lead directly, that will be the best chance we have got for this to happen. We won’t stop fighting this cause if we get a negative response, we now have a link in to the relevant authorities and will keep pushing.
We are learning to balance patience with chasing the relevant people!
With all the disclosures of abuse that is going on in the world at the moment , there has probably never been a better time for not only our story to be told, but for the right people to listen. For example, it was not till recently that organisations have been identified as actually a risk factor when it comes to abuse. Another reason our story is more complicated than usual, is the amount of abuse that went on that is not necessarily criminal. It is abuse all the same and those who suffered do need to have their stories heard and to get validation and healing, but it does make the process of getting to the truth even more difficult.
Over the last couple of months it feels there has definitely been some movement, We truly believe that all of the work everyone has been involved in up to now has had a part to play in that.
It is not always easy to see what any one piece of work has achieved, but we believe when we look back, we’ll see it.