Connor PR working with Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) on the ‘Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine’ campaign
CHILD ABUSE SURVIVORS UNITE IN MUSIC VIDEO TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HISTORIC HIGH POWER PAEDOPHILE RING & CALL FOR A REINVESTIGATION INTO HANGED BOY, PETER DAVIS’, DEATH
LONDON, 24th November 2015: The victims of one of the world’s most horrific and high profile cases of child abuse will today unite to appear in a music video as part of a landmark venture to try and raise awareness of the high power paedophile ring, which included politicians, celebrities, scout masters, members of the Catholic church, that infiltrated more than 20 children’s homes in the Lambeth area from 1950’s – 2000’s. The “Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine” campaign aims to bring justice to the hundreds of victims that suffered at their hands, 12 of whom committed suicide, and lift a 100 year access restriction order on the victim’s files. Award winning author and chair of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA), Alex Wheatle MBE, himself a victim of abuse at Shirley Oaks and now seeking justice, is hoping that the campaign will encourage more witnesses to come forward enabling police to reopen an investigation into 15 year old Peter Davis’ death, who was found hanged at Shirley Oaks in Croydon in 1977.
Written by music mogul, Raymond Stevenson, who discovered Jessie J when she was 15 and was himself physically abused going on to become the founder of SOSA, with input and melodies by X Factor / Alien Uncovered star, Temple Praise, the track is entitled ‘Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine’ and will be released in early December this year. The track features haunting testimonies from the victims. The video will tell the story of the true horror suffered by vulnerable young children during decades of abuse at Shirley Oaks and aims to encourage more people who have any information to come forward and speak out, so that police investigations can be reopened and Government can lift the 100 year access restriction on files for former Shirley Oaks residents. The video will be made available to download from the first week of December 2015 (date TBC) with all funds going towards helping SOSA track down victims from across the UK and around the world.
Raymond Stevenson, SOSA founder, said: “I have done many campaigns and they have always been motivated by personal circumstances and issues that blight communities. Maybe because I survived the hell of Shirley Oaks I believe it’s my duty to help others. I say this not just because I was a victim but there can be no greater crime levied at humanity than paedophillia. Then add that these were abandoned children in the state’s care already unloved and frightened, some already victims and others whose parents died. Then add the lies, the cover-up, the conspiracy and now we learn that this could have all been prevented. This video will enable victims to tell their story through a medium that cannot be tampered with or edited. The chorus in the song simply says, ‘you don’t know what they done to me’. The video will show the fear horror and abuse through art. A line in the song that asks the question, ‘what happens if it was your child?”
Amongst the alleged abusers are Jimmy Savile, as well as former Lambeth Labour councilors, Toren Smith and Susan Smith, who have been convicted. There have been two major police investigations into abuse at children’s homes in South London and a total of three people have been convicted of offences; one relating to Shirley Oaks, swimming instructor, William Hook, and the remaining two including Michael John Carroll who ran Angell Road children’s home and Les Paul from South Vale Children’s Home.
SOSA is demanding answers for one very specific matter – the sudden death of 15-year old Peter Davis in 1977, found hanged in a toilet with a cord around his neck. Following signs of sexual acitivy, a coroner ruled “death by misadventure“, but friends who grew up with him believe he was the target of paedophiles. Peter was the chief witness in a rape trial at the Old Bailey two years before he died where he gave evidence in regard to both his and his sibling’s rape. When the BBC looked for court documents from the time, they found that in 2003 they had been made secret for 100 years. Former senior detective Clive Driscoll said reopening the case would be a “great opportunity for detective work”.
Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham, who has constituents who are Lambeth abuse survivors said: “This is an important step for the campaign. I hope the excellent work that the survivors association are doing will help other survivors feel able to come forward and speak out. By the police’s own admission, previous investigations were ‘of the time’ and did not meet the standards we would apply today. The police owe it to the survivors group to reopen the investigation into Peter Davis’s death.”
The Metropolitan Police said officers looked at available material relating to Peter’s death in September 2014. A statement said: “In the absence of further new witnesses or new lines of inquiry, the matter remains closed. If new witnesses are identified who are prepared to provide police with statements that challenge the recorded decision then an assessment of that material will be undertaken.”
SOSA and Urban Concept’s1 research and on-going investigation is focused specifically on 1965 onwards when Lambeth took over the controls of Shirley Oaks. There have been multiple inquiries, most recently by the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council from 1998 – 2003, which cost millions of pounds, and resulted in the arrest of one paedophile from Shirley Oaks and two other paedophiles from other south London children’s homes. In the first eight months of interviewing over 300 children who attended Shirley Oaks and other South London Children’s Homes, Urban Concepts1 uncovered more than 16 paedophiles. When they discussed this with the Police their response was dismissive. A few weeks later Urban Concepts discovered a document produced by the Police and Lambeth Council which stated that 16 paedophiles died before or during the Police operation. This included one suicide during the trial in March 2003, 19 cases the alleged paedophile could not be identified and one case where the victim died before being able to give evidence. In some 11 cases the CPS took no further action and one case fell through after the suspected paedopile committed suicide during his trial.
Singers for the “Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine” campaign include 23 year old Millie from Essex, 21 year old Sophie from West Sussex and 21 year old Royal Opera House ballet dancer, Lucy from Stoke. The group known as ETHAMIA were selected based on their suitability to understand the subject matter and to empathise with the victims. When Urban Concepts1 played the track, the girls burst into tears and demanded to be part of the project. Taking their roles as ambassadors for victims seriously, the girls did their own research and went to Shirley Oaks and also accompanied the victims as they made a presentation to Lambeth council.
Principal crew for the music video will include: director, Giles Borg (Flutter, 1234, Home) with over twenty years of experience in music, film and television directing music videos, full length feature films, commercials and TV programmes; Jospeh Crone, a multi-talented fashion stylist and costume designer with a diverse list of clients and credits in the music, commercial and film sectors of the industry, from James Blunt to Dizzee Rascal, Investec to Innocent; and Ryan Jenkins, one of the UK’s most sought after choreographers, recently appointed creative director by UK government to represent and create work for Great Britain National day at Milan Expo 2015.
Choreographer, Ryan Jenkins, said: “This project has opened my eyes to the unimaginable pain and torture these people have experienced. It makes me so angry to know that nothing substantial has been done by those in authority. I want to help bring justice for these people. This is a story that needs to be told and the time is now.”
The Shirley Oaks campaigners are part of a wider phenomenon – a “survivor” activism that is changing the balance of power in relation to child abuse. Where once victims were ignored or silenced, now they are coming together through social media, forming support groups and building a crescendo of noise that the authorities are forced to acknowledge.
Lambeth Council is supporting the Shirley Oaks Survivors’ Association in their campaign to identify further victims and offer counselling to those who have not already received it but feel they would now benefit.
Join in the conversation @ShirleyOaksSA / #ShirleyOaks
**CAMPAIGN AMBASSADORS, RAYMOND STEVENSON AND ALEX WHEATLE MBE, ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW UPON REQUEST**
Connor PR working promoting Shirley Oaks Survivors Association’s latest campaign, Don’t Touch It. It’s Mine”