Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

NSPCC & Stuart Hall

Today, Stuart Hall was sentenced for sexual offences against children, one of whom was 9 years old at the time.  He was sentenced to 15 months.

Hall initially denied these allegations, calling them 'pernicious' 'cruel' 'callous' and 'spurious'.  He used his platform as a well-known member of the media to publicly slur those who had courageously come forward to make a formal allegation against him.

In April, when the case was sent to Crown Court, Hall changed his plea to guilty - although there were media restrictions in place meaning that this wasn't reported until the beginning of May.

As part of his mitigation, Patricia McMillan provided a character reference, detailing his chartitable works.  Ms McMillan is the Branch Chair for NSPCC East Cheshire .  When challenged about this, @NSPCC has ignored requests for a statement, and spent the day attempting to fire-fight on twitter, replying to individual @'s and ignoring others completely.

We are disatisfied with their explanation that Ms McMillan is a 'volunteer'.  We understand that Branch Chair is not a paid role for the NSPCC, but it is no doubt an influential one.

We request that NSPCC release a full and public statement to address this issue, and answer the following questions.

  • Did Ms McMillan mention her role as NSPCC Branch Chair in her statement supporting Stuart Hall?  If so, will the NSPCC publish this character reference?
  • Does NSPCC have an 'ethics' code that they expect their branch volunteers to adhere to?  If so, is this information available to the public?
  • Do NSPCC (and within this, we include all of those working within the organisation, including volunteers) believe that charitable works some how negate criminal offences against children?
  • Will NSPCC be requesting Ms McMillan steps down from her position as Branch Chair for East Cheshire?
  • What steps NSPCC be taking to ensure that this does not happen again?

We are publishing this on our website and will be sending to NSPCC via email.  Further updates will be provided in the comments.

Download this post as PDF? Click here Download PDF

Comments are currently closed.

7 thoughts on “NSPCC & Stuart Hall

  • Alex Reynard says:

    Maybe Ms. McMillan was willing to provide a character reference because she thought Mr. Hall was innocent.

    • Admin says:

      He pleaded guilty, so there is no issue of ‘innocence’.
      She would have been aware of that, and would have had ample opportunity to withdraw a supporting statement.

      If you believe that Ms McMillan took the right course of action, this campaign is unlikely to be for you.

  • kim says:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/100927/osborne_george.htm

    Alistair Martin McMillan, husband of Pat who gave the paedo a charachter ref using NSPCC name, gave George Osborne £3000 in 2009.

  • Michelle says:

    Only the Manchester Evening News has published Mrs. McMillan’s response and I believe this to be because it contains the truth about the Daily Mail’s misreporting. Again this highlights the sensationalistic nature of the British media style that offends my intelligence.
    There seems to be only ever one side to a newspaper story then they decide to drop it if it might highlight that they misreported the truth.
    For the record, I too condemn any form of cruelty to children and will do what I can to stop it.

    For your benefit, I have included it below.

    ‘The charity volunteer who gave Stuart Hall’s legal team a statement about his work for the NSPCC has apologised and spoken out to defend her ‘naivety’.

    Patricia McMillan stood down as chairman of the East Cheshire branch of the NSPCC after her statement about the disgraced TV presenter came to light in court.

    At Hall’s Preston Crown Court sentencing, his barrister Crispin Aylett QC told the court that Mrs McMillan had written a ‘letter of reference’ about Hall’s work as a charity auctioneer since 2008.

    Hall, 83, of Wilmslow, was later jailed for 15 months for sexually abusing girls as young as nine.

    Mrs McMillan, from Sutton, Macclesfield, told the M.E.N. that she had dedicated nearly 20 years of her time to the NSPCC, receiving no payment and leading a team that raised more than £2.35m for the charity.

    She said: “As part of that role, we occasionally worked with well-known people. One of them was Stuart Hall.

    “I would like to say that I unreservedly condemn his disgraceful conduct and I regard his offences with the same horror as everyone else in Britain does.” ‘

    She said she was asked by Hall’s solicitors to confirm his contribution to charitable causes in particular his role as an auctioneer at some NSPCC fundraising events.

    She said: “I was also asked to state how I knew him socially and to confirm whether or not I had witnessed any inappropriate behaviour since I first met him in 2008.

    “I confirmed that during this time I had never witnessed any inappropriate behaviour or encountered any problems with him. I don’t recall it being explained to me that it would be used as a ‘character reference’. It was in reality a two-page statement of fact, nothing more.”

    Mrs McMillan thanked fellow volunteers and supporters of the children’s charity for their support – and apologised to them.

    She added: “I can only offer my sincerest apologies to everyone at the NSPCC for the embarrassment I have caused them.

    “I believe I am guilty of naivety, nothing more, because I genuinely thought I was taking part in a legal process and was obliged to respond truthfully to the request to provide a statement of fact.

    “I have been vilified by the national media and online for telling the truth. I simply had not witnessed any inappropriate behaviour during the ten or so occasions that I had met him. My witness statement went no further than that, I did not express any views, simply facts within my knowledge.

    “My real concern is not for the embarrassment I have caused myself, but for the NSPCC and that is why I stood down as chairman of the East Cheshire branch.”

    • Admin says:

      Thank you for this – we’d not seen the Manchester Evening news and we are being resolutely ignored by both the NSPCC email & twitter accounts!

      We’ll post this out on twitter later today.

  • Admin says:

    We contacted the @NSPCC account on the following dates, asking for a response to either this piece, or the email that we have sent them twice. Both emails have received an auto-reply stating that they endeavor to respond within 3 working days. No further replies have been received.

    22nd June 2013 (original query, they replied to many other users but not us)
    25th June 2013
    26th June 2013
    27th June 2013 (to report a possible Child Protection issue)
    28th June 2013

    All of these have been ignored. We are now checking their complaints procedure and will be preparing a formal complaint about this issue.

  • Admin says:

    Following us being unable to get a reply from @NSPCC regarding a child protection issue, we contacted the CEO on twitter, Peter Wanless. He responded really quickly and requested that we send him an email highlighting our concerns, which we have done.