Date: Thursday 27th of April, 2017
Duration: 16:30 - 18:00 James Scotland Suite (028) School of Education
Number 69 is the story of one man’s quest for justice following years of institutional abuse and the traumatic cost of pursuing that justice through the judicial system, which forced him to relive the abuse he suffered at the hands of those charged with his care. The film has been commissioned by the Crown and Prosecution Service to raise awareness of the issues faced by individuals who have suffered institutional abuse and to underline their determination to ensure that institutional survivors are supported through the process of the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
Number 69: Taken into care at the age of eight, Andy (Kershaw) was robbed of his childhood, his identity and subjected to physical, sexual, emotional and educational abuse.
Like so many others subjected to this kind of treatment Andy emerged into the adult world a deeply traumatised and angry individual. He describes how as a young man he felt ‘worthless, useless, disconnected’, and that years of being on the receiving end of a brutal regime had left him ‘unable to deal with conflict’, adding that survivors were more likely to ‘punch someone’s light’s out, and ask questions later.’
Perhaps worst of all was the deeply ingrained belief that he couldn’t talk about what had happened to him because ‘no one would believe me’, a lesson he learned at an early age when he tried to complain about his treatment while still in care.
Eventually however, Andy found the courage to pursue his own complaints and encouraged others who had been abused to also come forward.
But getting cases into court was just the beginning of what was to prove a challenging and traumatic process. ‘Giving evidence takes you back to the age you were’ (when it happened), recounts Andy, ‘it’s like being abused all over again.’
Andy feels that survivors like himself get little or no support in negotiating the court system (in England and Wales). ‘No one person or organisation supported us through the court system.’ And all too often he felt let down by his lawyers, so much so that at one point he dismissed his legal team and, with the support of his wife Jane, successfully took on the task of representing himself in court in pursuit of a civil action.
A small number of individuals were successfully prosecuted following investigations into complaints by Andy and others failed by the care system, but he has carried on to campaign to uncover institutional abuse and to bring those responsible before the courts.
Currently, he is a co-participant of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales.
- All other enquiries to Sue Hampson on 07890 473944.
- The 30-minute film was commissioned by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and produced by Safe to Say in conjunction with Openhand Productions.