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Labour Party Shadow NEC

Demand for Natural Justice and Due Process

Month

November 2017

Stop running to the Press

When accusations are made it is crucial that we respect the principles of due process and allow a fair and balanced investigation to explore all the evidence, the nature of the complaint, the context AND do not judge and or give evidence to the media. That is if you are motivated to shift society`s reflection of sexual inequality that can still be seen within the party.

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There are, of course, various degrees from banter flirtation, flirtation that comes close to the line of using power, right through to sexual harassment.  It is wrong not to have a system that helps and supports people who are receiving unwanted attention and the labour party has acted quickly to provide that. BUT equally we must allow protection for the accused also and  space to answer the accusations and for an independent process to examine all aspects.

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Sexual Harassment Policy  

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Maria Carroll is one of our team who has worked tirelessly to get the labour party to overhaul the complaints system for all members that it respects due process and natural justice. Our work on that continues.

We have been witness to endless bad practise by the compliance unit when it comes to administering investigations and our work to get that reformed is ongoing.  Many of the stories we have dealt with and are still dealing with can be found in this blog.  We are motivated by a core sense of justice and we are all horrified by the lack of care and respect for people being accused of sexual harassment. The specific policy on sexual harassment includes now an independent process separate from the compliance unit.

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Here Maria Carroll expresses our concerns about  people  not respecting due process and running to the media:

There are those who need to use the media to be heard because no one will listen. There are countless incidences of whistleblowers who have only achieved justice through the assistance of the media.

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The media does have a place on whistleblowing when people are not heard. IMO this issue is not one of those cases. Since bringing their concerns to light complainants have achieved much – a new independent and confidential service has been established and a new process for dealing with complaints. Details of that have been sent to every party member and anyone with concerns has been given the chance to come forward.
Therefore I cannot see a reason why today an MP, at this very difficult time, has taken her concerns of past matters to the press and not to that established service we have fought to achieve.

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The person complained about is once again publicly placed at risk. The investigation and any subsequent process has been placed at risk. How does anyone get a fair hearing when all this is going on?

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The systems of justice in this country are such that victim and accused are afforded the protections of fair process. Media is restricted in its reporting. Witnesses are restricted in their reporting too. These same restrictions must be placed on people in the Labour Party not just the accused.

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Add to that is another MP criticising Skwarkbox for publishing a response for the ‘accused’ a response that shows yet again the anguish of the publicly suspended, the pursuit of the relentless media, the lack of support.

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Have a heart and have a sense of justice please.

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How the Compliance Unit has let us all down

In memory of Carl Sargeant

Maria Carroll:

No one who has not lived through the experiences of either the complainants or the one complained about can understand the level of trauma this has caused them or the way that they have reacted.
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What we do know from well researched evidence is the impact that public suspension, media pressure, isolation and not knowing what you have been accused of does to people’s mental well being.

There is much documented evidence that our party has been told repeatedly of the impact this treatment has had on individuals, irrespective of the nature of the allegations.

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We have seen thousands and thousands of labour members go through this same experience. Ignored, scorned, labeled and not knowing what they may have been accused of.
They sit for hours and hours going over every meeting they have had, every discussion they have had, every comment on social media trying to see what they have done, trying to find a place to focus their efforts to be able to defend themselves. Repeated cries for more details of date, time and place and specifics are ignored.
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It eats into you, you cannot find an area to concentrate your defence on.
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You believe yourself to be a decent person that cares about the world and society but a person/persons you believe in, see as a decent friend and fellow politician tells you that you have behaved in a way that you failed to recognise.
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Your identity fragments, your hope dissipates, you fear you are a monster, you no longer know yourself.
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These allegations have been made by people who are more than just your friends they are your political family, people who share your views of a decent society, yet they see you as someone that needs to be suspended and exiled from that family.
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A role that is not only a huge and major part of every aspect of your life but also a part of your identity who you are. Everything you think of yourself, everything the world believed you to be is taken away. You are forever identified as a pest, a danger to society and those you love..
The small number of people who still believe in you do everything they can to get you the evidence and facts you need so that you can focus and fight. A highly skilled barrister fights to try to get you the detail. He’s told we may be in a position to get some preliminary information by mid January.
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That’s a long time away, too long when you are going through every issue of your life to try to find facts and understand what this is about. You remember every mistake you ever made, every time you weren’t as kind as you should have been …..
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Your ability to focus on reality is gone. Hopeless and in despair you cannot see a future.
 So unless you have lived through this experience with someone you cannot possibly comment, you cannot passably understand. Unless you have been a complainant in such a matter you cannot understand or comment either.
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We are human, we expect certain events to happen in your life, people die, tragedy occurs. But when hit by the totally unexpected the shock is severe. No one expects to wake up one day for such an event to occur. It’s well documented the impact of unexpected events – look up PTSD or prolonged duress stress disorder. Neither did the complaints expect this matter to be handled this way. They were not to know what would happen.
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But what we do know is the process has failed all these people. It failed those who acted as they were instructed. More than anything the process failed a family and four children.
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Recovering from the loss of a loved one from suicide is so very, very hard. Most never recover. Most will be in the same vicious circle of ruminating over what they could have done, what they should have done for ever.
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None of this is new.

The Labour Party process is wrong.  It’s been proved repeatedly to be failing everyone. It is devoid of due process and natural justice.

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Confidentiality is not given the respect it needs. Constant leaks that damage people for political expediency and factionalism is seen as just a normal part of political lives. It’s not.
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Natural justice is not at the heart of the process of discipline in our party.  Probably not in other parties either, but that is not our responsibility, our party is.
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And we are all left the worst for all of that. We will all now be wondering if we listened enough, if we judged without fact, or we should have done more. And if we are not then IMO we all should be.
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For me and many of my colleagues who have been fighting to get our party’s disciplinary process to reflect natural justice for so very long, we are now questioning ourselves to say, should we, could we have done more?
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 You are forever identified as a pest, a danger to society and those you love. The small number of people who still believe in you do everything they can to get you the evidence and facts you need so that you can focus and fight. A highly skilled barrister fights to try to get you the detail. He’s told we may be in a position to get some preliminary information by mid January.
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That’s a long time away, too long when you are going through every issue of your life to try to find facts and understand what this is about. You remember every mistake you ever made, every time you weren’t as kind as you should have been …..
Your ability to focus on reality is gone. Hopeless and in despair you cannot see a future.
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So unless you have lived through this experience with someone you cannot possibly comment, you cannot passably understand. Unless you have been a complainant in such a matter you cannot understand or comment either. We are human, we expect certain events to happen in your life, people die, tragedy occurs. But when hit by the totally unexpected the shock is severe.
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No one expects to wake up one day for such an event to occur. It’s well documented the impact of unexpected events – look up PTSD or prolonged duress stress disorder.
Neither did the complaints expect this matter to be handled this way. They were not to know what would happen.
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But what we do know is the process has failed all these people. It failed those who acted as they were instructed. More than anything the process failed a family and four children. Recovering from the loss of a loved one from suicide is so very, very hard. Most never recover. Most will be in the same vicious circle of ruminating over what they could have done, what they should have done for ever.
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