Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Nottinghamshire: a damning report

By Carole Spencer, Solicitor, Child Abuse Claims

Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has today published its report on its investigation into the responses of Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council to allegations of sexual abuse of children in their institutions and in foster care during the 1960’s-1990’s.                                                  

The report is produced further to a 3 week hearing in October 2018, at which clients of Switalskis gave evidence regarding their abuse at Beechwood children’s home, supported by our child abuse solicitor, Carole Spencer.                                                                                                                             

During the 1970’s-1990’s physical and sexual abuse were prolific in residential homes such as Beechwood, Hazelwood, Skegby Hall, Edwinstowe, Sandown Road, Wollaton House, Hillcrest, Risley Hall, Greencroft, Beckhampton Road, Woodnook, Amberdale and Three Roofs.

This part of the Inquiry dealt with the largest number of specific allegations of sexual abuse in a single investigation considered to date. Complainants hoped that in coming forward they would ensure the same thing did not happen to young people now in residential care.

In summary, the report says that children should have been nurtured and protected by trusted care workers but instead they were exposed to risk and sexual abuse on a massive scale by predatory staff and foster carers.

The report criticises poor recruitment practices, too few qualified staff and little training in homes which were overcrowded with a sexualised culture. Staff ignored safety procedures and senior management avoided responsibility even when they were aware of allegations of abuse.

The City Council took over responsibility for Beechwood children’s home in 1998 and also failed to address these problems, leaving children at risk for a further 8 years until the home was finally closed.

The report further criticised Nottinghamshire Police for their delay in acting upon allegations which arose in 2010. Operation Daybreak opened in 2011 but was poorly resourced. Operation Equinox took over in 2015 and has led to convictions of former Beechwood staff members: John Dent in 2001, Andris Logins in 2016 and Barrie Pick in 2017. 

The report provides a compelling and damning indictment of the Nottinghamshire Councils who failed to learn ‘from their mistakes despite decades of evidence of failure to protect children in care’

The Inquiry also considered harmful sexual behaviour between children in care and the abuse of children in foster care.

Carole Spencer represents a number of clients who were abused at Beechwood which was a primary case study for the Inquiry. It operated for 39 years from 1967-2006 and was run by both the County and City Councils. It was found to be poorly run and resourced with poor staffing.

If you need confidential advice you can call Carole Spencer on 01924 882000 or e mail carole.spencer@switalskis.com