A recent investigation prompted the closure of three children’s homes after failures were discovered and a further two more children’s homes were rated ‘inadequate’ following the BBC news investigation into the company, Calcot Services.

At one home there were found to be ‘serious and widespread failures’ due to caring staff not providing sufficient one-to-one care, which had been paid for by the local councils. The investigation consisted of Ofsted re-inspecting seven children’s homes in the South of England and the regulator has since rated five homes as ‘inadequate’, three of which have now been closed. In addition, it was found that the company had failed to fully report serious incidents which identified the negligent treatment of the abused children.

The BBC investigation highlighted a series of cases of children reporting having been groomed and assaulted. As part of the investigation, the BBC spoke to over 20 current and former Calcot employees who have since discovered leaked documents and correspondence. The disclosures included;

  • A former resident has spoken out for the first time about her experience of being groomed.

  • A former member of staff claims that a manager ‘covered up’ a serious sexual assault allegation involving two children.

  • Calcot had failed to report two alleged incidents involving children to the Local Authority (LA) Safeguarding Manager.

  • Five whistleblowers (Calcot staff) contacted Ofsted with concerns over a year ago.

  • Calcot has used a legal business structure, but it is not subjected to the same financial scrutiny as limited companies.

Calcot Services refuse to accept blame despite the investigation and claimed that profits were not too excessive and disputes the BBC’s characterisation of the claims.

Groomed by Carer- Case Study

A part of their report, the BBC highlighted the experience of a number of former Calcot residents including Michela, who was groomed by a Calcot employee two years ago at the age of 17 while she was living in a supported living home.

Supported living is a home for older teenagers to enable them to have greater independence when they reach the stage of adulthood.

Michela was groomed by Tatenda Shoniwa who had originally been the firm’s marketing manager before he was moved to work at the supported living home Michela was living in.

Shoniwa followed Michela on social media and groomed her by messaging her about her life until the early hours of the morning. As with many survivors of this kind of childhood abuse, Michela wasn’t used to having this kind of attention, having been without a parent figure, which drew her into the abuse.

Michela bravely reported the abuse but explained that she was left at the residence for months after staff were aware of it so she felt she had no option but the lock herself in her room without food or washing facilities in order to keep herself safe.

Shoniwa is now imprisoned for abusing his position and engaging in sexual activity with a child but Michela still feels betrayed by the staff who knew about the abuse but didn’t act.

Michela explained that people are often taken into care to protect them from trauma, and she did not expect that the trauma would be exacerbated once she was in the system that was supposed to care for her.

At Farleys, we have acted for many survivors of abuse with similar experiences to that of Michela, who have been groomed and abused by someone in a position of trust such as a carer, support worker, teacher, coach, or family member. We understand the trauma caused by the abuse and how difficult it can be to discuss what you have experienced.

When you feel ready, our specialist team are on hand to listen and advise on your next steps in pursuing a claim for compensation. While we know that nothing can take away from what you have experienced, we find that many clients gain a sense of closure through pursuing a claim and are also able to then fund any treatment they need.

To speak to a member of the team in confidence, please call our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email if you prefer and someone will get in touch with you.