A recent anonymous blog said that the author, an ex-member of the AWL, was sexually assaulted by another ex-member in 2005.
The incident has never been made the subject of a complaint to the AWL. We have responded to the blog with an initial assessment which says: “It is our understanding that, at the time, the [few] individuals to whom the writer disclosed these events felt they were acting not only in accordance with the writer’s wishes [to keep disclosures confidential] but also appropriately. That was a serious mistake. He was a sixteen-year old and the incidents should have been reported to appropriate bodies inside or outside the AWL, as an issue of safety.” No such report was brought to those bodies.
We are taking this matter seriously by further investigating our own actions at the time and subsequently, so we can find out more, learn the lessons and take appropriate action. At the same time we will be respecting the author’s current wish to not take the matter further. We have set up a Working Group to do this work and it will be reporting in a few weeks’ time.
We are determined to make this an open process which will be helped by outside expertise and scrutinised by people outside the AWL. We are entirely willing to be held to account on the process and the findings of the Working Group. However, where comment is knitted into preconceived hostility to the AWL we will respond on the politics as necessary, while doing our best to keep the political response and the Working Group process separate.
Two political responses are published here and here. As regards process, we have set up a page with links to the original blog, our response, and updates on our work on this matter, which can be found at here.