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Shame on you! Ex-Quarriers abused kids in blast at conference as PR stunt

By Eitan Grant, the Gazette, Paisley, 14/09/2005

The biggest children's charity in Scotland has been slammed for silencing child sex abuse victims while at the same time organising a forum on children's rights.

Furious former Quarriers children who claim to have been abused while in the care of the charity have branded the conference a PR stunt and have set-up their own website in response.

The high- profile national conference, to be held in Bath in November on the theme of "Children's Rights vs. Press Freedom - Who Wins" has attracted a host of VIP speakers.

These include the Secretary of State for culture Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell MP and the European Regional Communications Adviser for UNICEF Lynn Geldof.

But the care organisation stands accused of deliberately suppressing the rights of former boys and girls who want to talk about their suffering at the hands of Quarriers staff.

Abuse victim and the man behind the website David Whelan told the Gazette: "This conference is a sick joke. We have tried to talk about what it means to us through official Quarriers channels like their website but we have been denied at every turn.

"The aim of our website is to highlight within the media the cruelty and brutal behaviour and abuse that has taken place in Quarriers Homes down the generations".

"Our web address is similar to the official former boys and girls association web address and hopefully people will look at both sites.

"I wonder why a Scottish funded charity like Quarriers would have this forum in England away from the glare of the Scottish media which has put them under so much scrutiny recently?

"Nobody down south knows of the historical child sex abuse cases of former employees of Quarriers. To me this forum is just a PR stunt".

Quarriers Chief Executive said: "The Former Boys and Girls Association is a completely independent organisation to Quarriers. We have no control over the operation of the group or the website that it operates. Quarriers believe that any individual who suffered abuse should have the right to discuss their experience and feelings and we would welcome such individuals for counselling or to signpost them to an organisation which can help".

Quarriers are hosting the Children's Rights vs. Press Freedom conference to encourage active debate on the subject of media coverage of children for the benefit of young people and their relationship with the media and to help exploitation.

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