Death Threats After Files Published Online
A father and his daughter claim they were approached by a convicted abuser after their personal details were published online.
Survivors of child sex abuse have received death threats after their personal details and confidential communications with an abuse inquiry were published online.
Members of the group have written to the Home Secretary expressing “grave concern” about the publication of documents they say were leaked by a member of an abuse inquiry panel.
The Home Affairs Select Committee – the panel of MPs tasked with scrutinising the creation of an inquiry into historical child sex abuse allegations, and chaired by Keith Vaz – then published the documents on its website, it was claimed.
The group says that names and contact details of panel members have since been redacted from the site.
Sky sources claim Home Secretary Theresa May has written to Mr Vaz describing her “dismay” at the Committee’s publishing of the documents. The source added Mr Vaz was now in the process of apologising to 18 members of the group.
One abuse survivor and his young daughter were approached by a convicted abuser after their details were published, it was claimed.
In a collective statement to the Home Secretary the group said: “It has exposed us as individuals, making us feel vulnerable, and is having a huge impact on our work.”
The news is likely to raise questions about the conduct of Vaz, who earlier this week stated his intention to publish documents widely as a measure of “transparency”.
The documents also revealed the confidential details of a medical condition suffered by one survivor.
The news is a further setback for the child abuse inquiry, which has been beset by controversy after two previous chairs were forced to step down after their links to establishment figures were revealed.
Last week it emerged there was discord within the inquiry, as panel member and survivor Sharon Evans claimed she had been bullied by counsel to the inquiry, Ben Emmerson QC.
But on Monday Mr Emmerson told the Home Affairs Select Committee Evans had breached her duty of confidentiality and was diminishing the trust of survivors on the panel and its ability to protect sensitive details of past abuse from the general public.
The Home Affairs Select Committee now stands accused of being embroiled in those breaches itself.
A spokesperson for the Committee said that only the names of four survivors were revealed, and that those names have now been redacted.
The child abuse inquiry said in a statement: “We are aware of the contents of a letter which the Survivors Alliance is planning to send to the Home Secretary.
“We would like to stress that the provision of documents subsequently placed this week on the Home Affairs Select Committee website was done without permission or knowledge of seven of the eight Panel members or the Inquiry secretariat.
“We have no further comment to make and await the decisions of the Home Secretary regarding the appointment of a Chair and on the future shape of the Inquiry.”