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Why did people support the JusticeforLBGMC crowdfunding campaign?

18 Aug 2017 - No Comments

When it became apparent that the GMC would bring a case to have Dr Valerie Murphy, LB’s consultant psychiatrist struck off the medical register, thoughts turned to whether we should live-tweet it. There’s more about my thinking here but essentially it came down to the opportunity to shine a light on these really rather murky processes. We launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of my travel, accommodation and a small amount towards food and other expenses each day. We agreed that any additional funds would be used to live tweet the HSE prosecution when it happens.

The tweets from the tribunal are all available on twitter here. At the end of the first week I was contacted by a journalist from LD Today who was considering a piece on live tweeting tribunals and wanted to ask me a few questions by email. This one in particular I knew I couldn’t answer:

What type of person backs a crowdfunding of this nature – is it typically friends/relatives or does it resonate more widely?

In fact I’m not sure it was the best question; I wanted to know why people supported, as much as who supported. So I asked our punters:

You can click on the tweet above and head directly to twitter to read all the replies, or I’ve attempted to group them in some way, in case anyone is interested.

Reason 1) Open Justice

Defined on wikipedia as legal processes ruled by openness and transparency, letting the public see and hear trials in real time as they happen. This had worked brilliantly at LB’s inquest in October 2014, enabling people to follow along in real time, something picked up on by supporters:

Reason 2) Because this is for all our children

A number of responses came from others who recognised the same could happen to their families, and that LB represented so many more than just himself.

Reason 3) To change things for others at risk 

There was a hope that exposing what happened to LB might help change the current system where dudes are locked away from their families and communities

Reason 4) To bear witness 

Alongside a desire to bear witness to the inhumanity of a system that allows deaths through neglect, and then continues to harm their family while they try to get justice.

Reason 5) To expose reality and shine a light on learning disability services

There have been many times through JusticeforLB where I know a part of my brain would never quite have believed what I was told if I’d not seen or heard it for myself. I think this need to expose the reality of services is at the core of JusticeforLB, and clearly fed into why people were prepared to part with their cash to support us.

Reason 6) It’s the right thing to do 

Particularly pertinent this week. I’m reminded of an old blog post I wrote about the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

Reason 7) To change the system for others seeking justice

What started out as a campaign about LB and other learning disabled dudes has had much wider ramifications for others; if anything we do can pave the way to improve things for other bereaved families, then that’s a result.

Reason 8) To contribute financially when life doesn’t permit permit you to do more/different

We have always tried to make JusticeforLB as open and accessible as possible, we’ve been supported in many different ways by lots of people. This particular action quite simply could not have happened without supporters donating their cash, so I feel humbled that people felt prepared to donate. I particularly liked Hatt’s point about specific actions rather than large charities.

Reason 9) To help the system see why it needs to change

It’s all well and good those of us outside lamenting the system but we need those within it to see the opportunity, to see the reality and inhumanity of what currently exists. I hope that the tribunal tweets will help people experience it a little from someone else’s perspective.

Reason 10) Solidarity 

Pure and simple this one, because LB’s family are not alone and he mattered. He really did.

So there we have it, why people supported us to live tweet the MPTS tribunal:

  1. Open Justice
  2. Because this is for all our children
  3. To change things for others at risk
  4. To bear witness
  5. To expose reality and shine a light on learning disability services
  6. It’s the right thing to do
  7. To change the system for others seeking justice
  8. To contribute financially when life doesn’t permit you to do more/different
  9. To help the system see why it needs to change
  10. Solidarity

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