MAY 9th 2019Inspire Gifts and Gallery in Lancaster is hosting “Making the Invisible, Visible – A Photographic Exhibition.”
This is a two-day exhibition featuring a collection of photographs from the online Invisible Boy and Girl campaign.The exhibition is designed to raise discussion and awareness around child sexual abuse.
Daniel Wolstencroft, organiser of the event said: “Its common for may survivors to be asked why did they let it happen?“
The problem is those around them see the person they are today, be that a big strong bloke or a capable, confident woman. “What people forget is that when the abuse happened they were children.”
The exhibition aims to put this into perspective by showing a “then and now” photo, which helps to make the invisible child, hidden within the mature adult survivor visible.
It is a very simple and yet powerful way to help add content to a survivors story as well as helping those affected to heal and recover.
Owner of Inspire Gifts, Graham Armstrong Jones said: “This is an amazing initiative which conveys so much from just two simple photographs side by side.
“Danny and the Shatterboys team have created something very raw and very honest and it is a privilege to be able to use the gallery to give back to the community.”
Henri Matisse said that “creativity takes courage” and this exhibition certainly shows this to be very true. Why not come along and see this powerful new exhibition see for yourself?
Rightwing groups including Ukip are attempting to “infiltrate” child protection charities to further an anti-Islam agenda, officials from the government’s counter-extremism programme believe.
Officers from Prevent said far-right figures were using voluntary groups to stir up tension in towns with historical problems of child sexual exploitation.
In Rochdale, a community group for child sexual abuse survivors, Shatter Boys, said it had been approached repeatedly by senior Ukip figures including Lord Pearson, who offered to introduce them to millionaire donors and fund an open-top bus to raise the alarm about grooming gangs.
Daniel Wolstencroft, the founder of Shatter Boys, said: “What they’re doing basically is grooming survivor groups and survivors of abuse. I think their fight is about Islam.”
Pearson’s offer of funding, made during a private lunch at the House of Lords, followed months of courting by the Ukip families spokesman, Alan Craig, who last year said Muslim grooming gangs had committed a “Holocaust of our children”.
Craig, who said paedophilia could be traced back “to Muhammad himself”, approached the Rochdale-based group on social media before attending one of its street patrols with a leading member of the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).
The Ukip leader, Gerard Batten, spoke at a rally in Rochdale organised by the DFLA last April. The DFLA has described the Greater Manchester town as being on its “hit list” for anti-grooming demonstrations.
The issue of child sexual exploitation by men of Pakistani heritage has become a key focus of Ukip under the leadership of Batten, who triggered a wave of senior resignations when he appointed the anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser on grooming gangs.
Rochdale councillors unanimously voted to remove the civic honour following a complaint from one of the MP’s victims.
However, an abuse survivors support group said the move was meaningless, as it “should have been done years ago”.
Speaking after the council vote on Wednesday, Shatter Boys’ Daniel Wolstencroft told the Local Democracy Reporter Service that it “shouldn’t even be a discussion, they should’ve just stripped him of it straight away”.
“It means nothing because it should have been done years ago,” he said.
The motion to remove the accolade from Smith, who died in 2010, was proposed by council leader Allen Brett.
The honour had been bestowed on him in 1992.
Mr Brett told the meeting it was “a shame we can’t just strip him of this honour without going through the technicalities”.
Conservative group leader Ashley Dearnley, who seconded the motion, added that the situation the council found itself in was “very sad… in that we have to strip him of this title he clearly did not deserve and does not deserve”.
Smith, who was knighted in 1988, was involved in politics in the town for much of his life and served as its Liberal MP from 1972 to 1992.
Daniel Wolstencroft, Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel member said:“Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse often tell me they’ve been silenced, ignored and failed by organisations they trusted. That was my experience too.
“We cannot change what went wrong in the past but by talking to the Truth Project, together, we can help to protect the next generation.”
Danny is 41, he is a victim and survivor of child sexual abuse, a campaigner and he works with survivors of abuse in Nottingham:
“I was sexually abused by a family member, from the ages of five to ten. This led to years of drug abuse, and affected my schooling. I was on drugs while I was at school.
“I was very vulnerable as a teenager, and I was befriended by a man who groomed, drugged and raped from 15-21. This led to prison, rehab, mental health units, probation. You name it – I’ve been there done it.
“A major part of my recovery was meeting a drug worker who’d also been sexually abused. When he told me what happened to him, it gave me permission to speak. He was the first person who’d ever disclosed their own abuse to me. His journey was so similar to mine, and I thought if he can sort his life out and get clean then I can do it too. That conversation inspired me to seek counselling and set up my own group, Shatter Boys to help other men.
“Since then, I’ve been in working in Nottingham to help establish Shatter Girls with a female survivor. Shatter Girls focuses on child sexual exploitation prevention work, and female peer support.
“I’d heard about the national inquiry into child abuse in the media. I wanted to be involved to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. I have a son now, and a huge part of why I wanted to be involved was to protect future generations,.
“Part of my role was to help create and develop the Truth Project. I had a very negative experience with the police, and never felt like I was never believed by anyone in authority. The Truth Project was a perfect opportunity to speak truth to power, and my chance to help inform recommendations to government.”
The footage starts with the vigilantes chasing their quarry along the street. When they catch him they pile in, kicking him and drawing blood.
“You’re live now, in front of 3,000 people. Everyone’s got your face now,” the leader tells the man. “You’re a nonce, and you’re going to pay the f****** price for it.” This “sting”, in Bolsover, Derbyshire, in June, is part of an explosion in vigilante action.
Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vazjovic, who leads a National Police Chiefs’ Council group on the subject, says there are more than 100 such “interventions by activist groups” against supposed paedophiles each month — three a day.
“This phenomenon has really come to the fore in the last 12-18 months,” said Vazjovic, who added that there were about 70 groups, up from a reported 10 last year. Evidence from them was used in at least 150 criminal cases last year.
Members typically pose online as children to lure paedophiles, then detain them in the street or at home, streaming the confrontation live before calling police.
In recent weeks, in Forfar, Angus, masked members of the Wolf Pack Hunters UK group gathered in a street inhabited by a suspected child sex abuser, throwing bricks and stones when the man refused to come out of his house. A man from Cannock, Staffordshire, killed himself 48 hours after being broadcast in a similar sting, at least the third such death.
It can be revealed that the Bolsover group, Dark Light, has links with Daniel Wolstencroft, a member of Alexis Jay’s official Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Wolstencroft, one of eight on Jay’s panel of victims, is paid £300 a day from public funds for “providing advice and guidance to the chair”.
The profile picture on one of Wolstencroft’s Facebook pages is Dark Light’s logo. In a video on the group’s Facebook page, Wolstencroft says he and his organisation, Shatter Boys, “work closely with Dark Light”. This did not include stings, Wolstencroft said last week, but was about raising awareness. In another video, he said he supported Dark Light because “we need to win this fight on the streets first”.
His backing shows how the movement is growing in influence. Two weeks ago, the police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Paddy Tipping, said police should “forge some kind of understanding” with such groups.
Vazjovic said that although groups alerted police to crimes, overall they did more harm than good. “We see activist groups targeting in a really unfocused manner . . . diverting police resource from high-risk offenders to low-risk offenders,” he said. “When we operate in the undercover online space, we can work out what access to children an offender has, whether they have a wider network. Activist groups . . . just go and deal with the person that’s in front of them, tipping off other offenders, who destroy evidence.”
The “naive” subterfuge of some groups online was driving offenders onto the dark web, where they were harder to catch, Vazjovic added.
The IICSA said: “The inquiry expects all its employees to act responsibly and professionally.”
A devastating report will this week expose the scale and impact of child sexual abuse across the UK.
Researchers have found that abuse is widespread across all communities and social classes – and believe it has been perpetrated in schools and other institutions much more widely than previously thought.
The report – obtained by The Mail on Sunday – is based on the biggest archive of evidence by abuse victims and survivors ever assembled in this country.
It presents detailed accounts from 50 of the 1,400 people who have so far given evidence to the Truth Project, part of the huge Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) set up by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.