A report written 17 years ago which highlights long-term ‘extensive’ abuse at children’s homes in North Wales from the 1970s to the 1990s has finally been published.
The Jillings Report, which focused on allegations of abuse within the North Wales care system, was compiled in 1996. It was never published for fear of compensation claims, but has finally been made public in the wake of fresh investigations.
We have previously reported on the investigation into claims of historical child abuse at various children’s homes in North Wales, including the former Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham. It was this ongoing investigation, dubbed Operation Pallial, which led to calls for the report to be published.
The report details how the lives of many children had been disturbed by the abuse they suffered while living at the homes and concluded that there was ‘extensive’ mistreatment of young people over a ‘substantial’ number of years.
The report followed North Wales Police’s inquiry into abuse claims in 1991 and the conviction of seven former care workers. As more claims of abuse in almost 40 homes emerged, the former Clwyd County Council commissioned Mr Jillings in 1994 to investigate.
It said that 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 in order to see the whole picture.
The report also expressed concerns that there was no independent mechanism to investigate serving or former police officers implicated in abuse.
It contains what it calls ‘frank criticism’ of individuals within the local authority, however much of that information has now been redacted by the joint North Wales councils due to defamation fears.
The report serves to illustrate the weak response and inaction to indications that children may have been abused.
Peter Wanless, the NSPCC’s chief executive has addressed this new development saying, “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.’
As a solicitor specialising in helping people claim compensation for abuse, this realisation is something we deal with on a daily basis. Our abuse team deals with many claims against the local authority for failing to protect children. If you would like to speak to someone for further advice then get in touch with one our abuse claim solicitors who will be happy to help.
By Jonathan Bridge, Abuse Claim Lawyer