Council Leader issues clarification over abridged video clip

 

Oldham Council’s ‘new’ Leader, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, has issued a statement in response to a YouTube clip that has recently been widely broadcast, both on social media and in WhatsApp groups. The video is ‘cut and shut’ from a public broadcast of the Council’s meeting on 13th July, 2022.

It is providing a landing point for a torrent of highly personalised abuse against Cllr Chadderton and what is, plainly, a targeted campaign to remove her from office. 

This is the Leader’s statement in full:

“I have become aware that there is a video circulating of comments I made during a Full Council meeting on the 13th July, 2022 in relation to survivors of child sexual exploitation [CSE] in Oldham.

“The [segment of the] video being shared is part of a much wider response to a fellow councillor who had stated that the lives of the survivors had been ruined by the abuse they faced. Having seen this short clip, many people are assuming that I was being dismissive of the impact that this horrendous form of abuse has on its victims.

“That is not the case. In the weeks leading up to the meeting I had spoken to a number of the survivors of sexual abuse who were referenced in our recently published independent review of historic CSE practice. My statement was not intended to convey the views of all survivors but was a reflection of conversations I had had with women who had told me about their horrendous abuse, the way it had and continues to impact their life, but also their determination not to be defined by the abuse they had suffered. 

“Nobody can fail to be horrified by the abuses these girls and women faced and by the way they were let down by those who should have better protected them from their abusers. The independent assurance review made clear that we could and should have done more to help these girls when they needed us and we are deeply sorry for that. 

“I have never shied away from the mistakes the council and the police made. I have spoken openly about how sorry I am that those women suffered in the way that they did and my determination to never let these failings happen again. 

“We are working with victims’ charities to offer support and advocacy for historic survivors who wish to come forward and we are establishing a survivors group to help us shape local policies and approaches to make sure their voices are heard and that we learn from their experiences.

“We are also working alongside Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Sherwood which is seeking prosecutions for historic perpetrators of child sexual abuse in Oldham. We continue to be committed to seeking justice and supporting survivors in whatever way we can.

“For more information about support available to those affected by this issue or for guidance on how to report concerns about abuse please visit our website 

https://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200386/protecting_children/2867/report_historic_child_abuse

 or call our helpline 0161 770 1045″

The Council is also understood to be contemplating robust action against those social media users whose criticism either gives rise to suspicion of a criminal complaint or a tortious breach where remedy and/or restraint via the county court can be sought.

It recently issued a number of anti-social behaviour warnings against ‘protesters’ who attended and caused serious disruption at Council meetings in June and July, 2022.

The next Oldham Council meeting is scheduled for 7th September, 2022. It is likely to be another turbulent session.

Page last updated Wednesday 24th August, 2022 at 0925hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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