Jillings report confirms ‘extensive’ abuse at north Wales children’s homes
Below the article is the press release by Wrexham Council and links to the report and to more info & support services, also see our essential viewing tab, please like, click the buttons, share & help us to co create more events & support resources, donate if you can, or encourage friends to, whilst the NSPCC is listed, we have been told that they only give numbers out, such as NAPAC, who refer to local services, which are thin on the ground too, NAPAC’s link is also below, and have signposted many to help, and have other useful info, and news of some 12 week groups starting soon) we need more than telephone counselling, and we intend to help set up and encourage local sanctuaries with holistic & practical help, please contact us : email@example.com if you would like to be involved and help or help with creative fundraising events
Heavily redacted version of 300-page report finally published after 20 years following freedom of information requests
- guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 July 2013 10.24 BST
A report into physical and sexual abuse at children‘s homes that was suppressed for almost 20 years concluded there was “extensive” mistreatment of young people over a “substantial” number of years.
The Jillings report into residential care units in north Wales, which has finally been released, said the lives of many children had been blighted by the abuse they suffered while living at the homes.
It said the panel that investigated the abuse had considered abandoning its inquiry as it was not sure it had all the material from agencies including police and social services that it needed to see the whole picture.
The report also expressed concern that there was no independent mechanism to investigate serving or former police officers implicated in abuse. And it said it had simply not been able to address some areas including the suggestion that public figures had been involved in abuse.
The now-defunct Clwyd county council commissioned John Jillings in 1994 to investigate allegations of abuse against residents of children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s.
His report was completed two years later but not published amid fears it could open up the authority to compensation claims.
Calls for it to be published resurfaced last year after the BBC Newsnight report that led to false child abuse allegations against the former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine.
Following freedom of information requests by the Guardian and others, the successor councils to Clwyd agreed to publish a heavily redacted version of the 300-page Jillings report.
It made clear that it was limited by a number of “constraining factors”, including that it was unclear to what extent material held by North Wales police was available. It also said there was a lack of clarity about the accessibility of some social services files.
But it concluded: “Our investigations have led us to conclude that the abuse of children and young people in Clwyd residential units has been extensive and has taken place over a substantial number of years.
“It’s clear in a significant number of cases the lives of young people who have been through the care system in Clwyd have been severely disrupted. At least 12 young people are dead.”
The report said the role of other agencies including North Wales police and the Welsh Office needed “careful and detailed scrutiny”.
It expressed concern there was “no mechanism to ensure that independent investigations are conducted of allegations against former and serving police officers”.
The report added: “Time and time again the responses to indications that children may have been abused has been too little and too late. The criticisms apply not only to Clwyd county council but also to the Welsh Office and North Wales police.”
Complaints that there had been a cover-up over Jillings led to an inquiry headed by the late Sir Ronald Waterhouse, which concluded in 2000 that there had been appalling mistreatment at homes over a period of 20 years.
At the time of the McAlpine controversy last year some former victims and politicians came forward to claim that the Waterhouse inquiry had been flawed and demanded that the Jillings report be finally published.
A police investigation ordered by David Cameron at the height of the McAlpine scandal is under way. So far more than 140 people have told police they were victims of abuse at children’s homes across north Wales between 1963 and 1992.
Explaining why the Jillings report had been released, the successor councils to Clwyd said: “The north Wales councils recognise that the release of the report may bring distress to those affected by historic abuse and they encourage anyone who is affected by its release to call … if they need support. All councils have and will continue to support anyone affected by abuse.”
Peter Wanless, the NSPCC’s chief executive, said: “This report comments on appalling child protection failures that took place nearly 40 years ago but could just so easily be commenting on dreadful events happening today.
“While some things have improved – particularly for those in care – there is a depressing realisation that in some areas nothing has moved on.
“Jillings comments that the interests of children were often sacrificed by the very professionals who should have been looking after them. And when the young victims tried to raise the alarm people turned a deaf ear to their pleas for help.
“The same mistakes have been highlighted in recent grooming cases where young girls were abused in sickening ways for many years while those who could and should have helped stood by, leaving them to their awful fate.
“While Jillings is concerned with what went on from 1974 to 1993, we have to ensure this kind of abuse does not cast its long shadow over children today. We can only prevent it by giving children confidence to speak out, paying attention when they tell us they need protection and moving swiftly to justice – so 40 years down the line we do not find ourselves in this invidious situation again.”
There was also criticism that many passages in the published report had been redacted.
A legal expert in abuse in residential care, Alison Millar, from the law firm Leigh Day, said: “The refusal to publish this report in full is tragically short-sighted. We are in an Alice in Wonderland situation whereby an independent panel is commissioned to investigate what went wrong and why. The report remains unpublished for over 15 years and then, when it is finally published, the report is effectively gutted so that important sections dealing with the very issue of what the panel found did go wrong are specifically excluded.
“The whole truth must come out, for the sake of all those affected and so that this can never happen again.”
The report spells out the dreadful treatment meted out to boys who lived at the Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham – described by one former resident as “the Colditz of residential care”.
It outlined how some boys were put on the “flat list” by the deputy head, Peter Howarth, and made to visit him in his apartment in their pyjamas with no underwear. They were sexually abused by him and forced to perform sex acts on each other. He bribed them with cigarettes, money and privileges.
Howarth was convicted and jailed for abusing children at the home.
The report also told how other staff members physically abused boys. One tortured a boy during canoe practice by holding the craft upside down.
Another staff member ordered older boys to “discipline” younger ones by urinating or defecating on them.
The report said there had been a “disturbing number of deaths and suicides” among former residents of children’s homes in north Wales. It revealed how some had died after abusing drugs, solvents or alcohol. Of the 12 deaths of former residents the panel knew about, four had lived at Bryn Estyn. Others had become repeat offenders and served a number of custodial sentences.
The panel found that almost 4,000 statements were taken by police investigating abuse at children’s homes during the period they looked at.
But the report said: “Of the many statements taken, it is unclear how many were forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration. It is also unclear how many other professionals, including police officers, were named in these statements as perpetrators of assaults.”
Though the report said the panel could not investigate suspicions that paedophile rings or famous people were involved in abuse of children, it did conclude: “It is clear that sex offenders can and do network.”
It also carried a letter from a council officer to North Wales police noting concerns that a paedophile ring was operating in north Wales and pointing out that many names of possible suspects given to police had links to Bryn Estyn.
On the panel’s struggle to get information from the police, the report said 130 boxes of files were passed on to detectives investigating child abuse from social services. The panel was not allowed to see these files as they were considered Sub judice (matter under consideration by a judge or court).
The report claimed the “interests” of the county council’s insurers “played an important part in the events surrounding the investigation of child abuse in Clwyd”, and added: “We know that this is not a situation that is unique to Clwyd.”
A bitter irony, given that the report was suppressed for 17 years, was that some victims clearly relished the chance to tell their stories.
One told the panel: “This is the first time I have ever felt heard.” The report’s parting shot was: “We hope that all those who participated in our investigations will ultimately benefit from the experience of speaking out in the hope of being heard.”
It is shocking to read that the council says that it will help people effected by abuse, and that all councils always have……. that is not the experience that many abuse victims & survivors have recieved. In many cases, local authorities have not helped, but instead parents needing help, have found themselves labelled by psychiatrists as unfit to parent, though no abuse or harm has been done to their children. This also happens under the cover of secrecy in the family courts, in some cases even evidenced cases, have been dismissed as delusional, fantasy, by social workers, or problems caused by abuse, that mean a parent needs some special support, have been judged as only reflecting on the weakness of the person, rather than the root cause being recognised, and specialist help made available. McAlpine keeps being mentioned as accused on TV, his name was NEVER mentioned, until he brought it out. Looking back at old documentaries, it is clear that his brother may have been involved, (see our playlists, Youtube: jointhedots100 please subscribe, like, share and watch for updates, send us videos that are relevant, also we list support group videos & those made by survivors of abuse speaking out.)
click the tab Essential Viewing for videos including old documentaries on this case and other coverups in children’s homes, and a list of them for research or clarification. Also see below for other useful links for the public inc. Operation Greenlight where others are collaborating to collate material, by area, and seeking people to send information to them.
Joint Press Release on behalf of the six North Wales Councils
The Jillings Report
EMBARGO 9am, 8 July 2013
Successor Councils to the former Clwyd County Council have today (8 July) released a redacted copy of the Jillings report into historic child abuse.
Following independent legal advice and discussions with the Police acting on behalf of the Operation Pallial investigation into recent allegations of historic child abuse in North Wales, the report has been redacted, but not abridged, with some names and detail blanked out.
A separate note explaining why the redactions have been made is attached to this news release.
The North Wales Councils recognise that the release of the report may bring distress to those affected by historic abuse and they encourage anyone who is affected by its release to call one of the numbers below if they need support.
All councils have and will continue to support anyone affected by abuse.
In North Wales, the safeguarding of children and young people is a high priority for today’s Councils.
Very few children are now placed in residential care and when they are, safety, quality of care and individual outcomes are carefully reviewed and monitored.
Since the publication of the Waterhouse report, Lost in Care, significant new statutory legislation and guidance has been implemented for Looked after Children.
In particular, within all new legislation and guidance are the rights of the child. This is evident in legislation and guidance around safeguarding, care planning and within the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer.
There has also been the development of the corporate parenting role within all North Wales councils to ensure improved results for Looked after Children.
Some significant areas of performance and protection are:
- Wales has an independent Children’s Commissioner.
- In North Wales we commission advocacy services to ensure children in care have a voice.
- Every Social Services department has an appropriately qualified Children’s Complaints Officer.
- We have clear whistle-blowing procedures in place, enabling members of staff to make complaints and raise matters of concern affecting a Looked After Child.
- Children are regularly visited; they’re also seen alone, at intervals, away from their residential or foster home.
- Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) organise a variety of specialised training for staff working with children.
- Local agencies work closely together on safeguarding issues, particularly in relation to children who are missing from home.
- Rigorous procedures are in place for recruiting foster care and residential staff.
All councils remain vigilant and continue to monitor and review procedures and practices.
Useful contacts for the public:
Operation Pallial Investigation Team
Telephone: 0800 118 1199
Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre
Telephone: 0870 000 3344
Telephone: 0808 800 5000
Children’s Commissioner for Wales
Freephone: 0808 801 1000 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri except Bank Holidays)
Text: 80800 starting the message with COM.
Telephone: 0845 303 0900
Our Addition: (Also see our Youtube playlist support, resources available for CSA victims/survivors
http://www.napac.org.uk/ (look at support services for postcode list of local groups & list of groups planned by NAPAC – UK wide)
Telephone: 0800 085 330
Link to Jillings Report:
- The Jillings Report – Redacted – Part 1 of 2 PDF format 17mb
- The Jillings Report – Redacted – Part 2 of 2 PDF format 14mb
Link to Redaction Statement:
Link to Practice Statement:
Notes to Editors
1. The four successor councils (from April 1996) to the former Clwyd County Council are Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council, Flintshire County Council, and Wrexham County Borough Council.
The six North Wales successor councils (from April 1996) to the former Clwyd County Council and Gwynedd County Council are: Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council, Flintshire County Council, Gwynedd Council, Isle of Anglesey County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council.
3. As this is an historic report, and the Council which commissioned it no longer exists, it is not considered appropriate for any follow-up media interviews to this press release.
4. Media inquiries should be directed to Gill Stevens on 01978 292289.
5. Operation Pallial media enquiries should be directed to the Serious Organised Crime Agency Press Office (SOCA) on 08702 688 100. Operation Pallial is an independent investigation, led by Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency, into recent allegations of historical abuse of children in care in North Wales. It is being conducted by officers and staff from SOCA, with assistance from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) and police officers and staff from forces in England.
The Jillings report was commissioned by the former Clwyd County Council in 1994. On legal advice, Clwyd County Council did not publish the report and in March 1996 its full Council noted the report and agreed to refer it to the Secretary of State for Wales to assist him in considering whether or not there should be a public inquiry. The Waterhouse Inquiry was subsequently instituted.
In November 2012, following FOI requests, successor Councils to the former Clwyd Council established that copies of the report were held in local authority archives.
The successor Councils took legal advice on whether the report should be disclosed under the Freedom of Information legislation, whether in full or in part.
Following the publication of theOperation Pallial Public Report on Progress on the 29 April 2013, Council representatives have spoken with the investigation to assess the potential impact of releasing the Jillings report on ongoing criminal enquiries.
Councils have reviewed whether or not to release any or all of the Report in light of that discussion and the independent legal advice from Hempsons Solicitors, obtained jointly on behalf of the successor councils.
A decision has now been made to release a redacted version of the Jillings Report today (8 July 2013)