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Mansfield Socialist Party

The decades-long Nottinghamshire child abuse scandal and cover-up shows the need to fight public service cuts and for a society that values people, not private profit.

Many vulnerable children had appalling experiences while looked after by Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council over many years.

Why did this happen and how can any future repeat be stopped? Mansfield Socialist Party discussed these vital issues on the night of the report’s recent publication.

For the past ten years all public services have been cut. Fewer staff with increasing workloads, reduced supervision and less training gave abusers less chance of being exposed. Also, management, under instruction from elected councillors to cut budgets, allowed abusers more scope to go undetected. Privatisation of public services has also reduced public accountability.

Mansfield Socialist Party calls for the reversal of all cuts. Councillors should set budgets to meet the needs of local people and demand the money from government – or make way for councillors prepared to fight for local services.

Capitalist society, where the rich and powerful dominate and exploit the rest of us, distorts human relationships. Abusive behaviour is rooted in this and targets the weak and vulnerable – children and disabled adults in residential care. Abuse also occurs within the home by family members.

Democratic accountability

Abused children were not listened to by those in authority, including the police. Mansfield Socialist Party calls for democratic, working-class control of workplaces including residential care homes, council services and the police.

Strong trade unions are needed to give whistleblowers confidence to speak out. The local community must have representatives to assure children and staff the right to have their voices heard.

Cuts in Sure Start, social services, mental health services, drug and alcohol services and council housing, all increase the likelihood of family crises. Young adults leaving care when 18 years old need continuing support with education, training and decently paid jobs. A socialist society would prioritise all these to help prevent children needing residential care.