Monday, March 13, 2017

How British deference to the Royal Family protected child abusers

Back in 2003 I wrote a column for Clinical Psychology Forum under the name Professor Strange arguing that the practice of sending British children abroad was centuries old and had frequently been controversial.

Despite that controversy, it had lasted until around 1970.

Media coverage of the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse has brought to the fore one reason: the patronage of the Royal Family.

Take this report from ABC News in Australia:
In 1956 a fact-finding mission was sent to Australia to evaluate how child migrants were being treated. 
Soon afterwards the three inspectors published the Ross Report, which placed both Fairbridge schools on a blacklist, prohibiting children from being sent there
This outraged the Fairbridge Society's British Secretary WR Vaughan, who used all the establishment clout he could muster to reverse the ban. 
He went straight to Australia House in London and told the migration officer there he had 16 children waiting to sail and that he wanted the situation resolved within days. 
Then he marched down to the Commonwealth Relations Office where he declared there would be a "first class row" if the blacklist was not lifted. 
Senior civil servants knew exactly what this threat meant. The Fairbridge Society's president was the Queen's uncle — the former Governor General of Australia — the Duke of Gloucester. 
A departmental memo warned the Duke's "intervention would be sought" if the standstill continued. 
Within days the blacklist was lifted and the British Government allowed children to be sent to the Fairbridge farms in NSW and WA. They even helped subsidise the journeys.


iain said...

Ah, 'Fogartism' had widespread support amongst those who sought to do good.

Simon said...

And of course Fairbridge is now neatly folded into the Princes Trust where its interests and legacy can stay safe and warm.