Operation Daybreak, a large scale police investigation concerning a number of claims relating to incidents of abuse at homes in the Nottingham area, has seen the number of victims reporting allegations increase.
In addition it is now being reported that an arrest has been made in connection with allegations that relate specifically to Beechwood Community House.
The remit of the extensive investigation now covers allegations concerning six homers formerly run by the council. The homes in question have now closed but the investigation is taking account of allegations of both physical and sexual abuse. The allegations cover a period of time stretching from the late 1960s until 2000.
Operation Daybreak has been investigating alleged abuse by staff at Beechwood Community House, Mapperley, Bracken House, Bulwell, Ranskill Gardens, Bestwood, Wood Nook, Beechdale, and Risley Hall in Derbyshire. Although at the time of writing it had not been confirmed for legal reasons it is understood that a further home has been added to that list.
So far it has been revealed that the arrest made in connection with the Daybreak investigation was connected to an alleged historical serious sexual offence that occurred at Beechwood. The individual arrested was questioned before being released on bail pending further enquiries. Previously five other people were arrested and all were later released with no further action. Nonetheless there are now known to be over 60 alleged victims.
It has also been reported that a council apologised to one of the alleged victims after it transpired that their care files had apparently been destroyed during the 1970s. This is a stark reminder of one of the central difficulties faced by victims and has a considerable impact on the possibility of proper investigation. The loss of records is also relevant to the possibilities of making a civil claim for compensation. The rules relating to the retention of records have evolved over the years but this is only one part of the overall problem.
Further difficulties arise when it becomes clear that many of the records are held in original hard copy format and may never have been stored electronically. This creates difficulties in the process of searching for what may be very old records. In this instance the local council involved did manage to track down some information relating to the victim in other more general files. This does again show the fragmented nature of historical record keeping but also provides some insight into the level of enquiry that any local authority investigating these allegations may need to consider when information may well be spread across a wide range of information sources.
Nonetheless as the investigations under Operation Daybreak continue it is to be hoped that even after many years those responsible for abusing the children in their care may finally face justice.