Hundreds of sexually abused victims in Nottinghamshire’s care system come forward.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has heard that 343 victims of sexual abuse suffered in the Nottingham care system have come forward now.
Counsel to the inquiry, Patrick Sadd, told the inquiry that there had been warnings of abuse since 1987, but many of the victims did not come forward earlier as they felt that they would not be believed.
The inquiry heard how Nottingham City and County Councils failed the children in care. Beechwood Community Home was one of the establishments that police reported to “be riddled with abuse” from the late 1960s to late 1980s. Former residents described being routinely sexually abused by members of staff and being too afraid to report it, the inquiry was told. Many of the girls in the home were led into prostitution. A psychologist visited the Home in the 1980s and described it as “appalling and squalid.” Beechwood was closed in 2006.
The inquiry is due to scrutinise failings by Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council and look at the huge scale of the total systematic failure.
Two weeks ago Nottingham City Council apologised to the victims of abuse.
In January, County Council leader Kay Cutts apologised that the authority had “failed” children entrusted to its care. She added: “The fact that this happened is something that leaves me personally feeling deeply saddened and ashamed.”
On 9th October the Inquiry heard evidence from Jim Fenwick who was principal of Beechwood home from 1981 to 1991. In his statement to the inquiry he described Beechwood as a “thriving and caring community home” and stated he had “no idea” when asked how the alleged abuse remained uncovered during his time as principal.
On the same day the inquiry also heard evidence via video link from Australia from Mr Rigby who was deputy superintendent at Beechwood from 1975-1993. He described Beechwood as a ‘dumping ground for children’ and described some of the children’s behaviour as ‘deviant’. When questioned Mr Rigby admitted that at the time when he worked at Beechwood he did not consider there were barriers stopping children from reporting allegations of abuse but admitted that ‘obviously, now I know that is not the case’.
The inquiry continues to hear evidence in relation to children who were abused while in the care of Nottingham council at the Kia Oval in London and the public hearings are anticipated to continue for another two weeks. In light of the investigations the Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales.
If you have been affected by anything in this article and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted free on 0800 9555 094.