An independent investigation examining claims of historical child abuse at children’s homes in North Wales has found “significant evidence of systemic and serious sexual and physical abuse”. The investigation, known as Operation Pallial, published a report on Monday which confirms that there is evidence of 140 allegations of historical abuse between 1963 and 1992.
The complainants, almost all of which are men who were aged between 7 and 19 at the time of the alleged offences, have identified 84 people as being responsible for attacks. Six are believed to still be alive and one suspect has been arrested to date.
Detective Superintendent Ian Mulcahey, one of the officers leading the operation, has said that “many of the alleged victims have provided graphic accounts of abuse, in some cases of very serious criminality’.
At a press conference in North Wales on Monday, detectives said the alleged offences ranged from serious physical assaults to rape and that most of the 140 alleged victims had described a “clear element of grooming with a serious abuse of trust and dereliction of duty of care”.
Previously, many of the complaints were believed to relate to the former Bryn Estyn care home in Wrexham, however 18 institutions have now been linked to offences.
Operation Pallial has conducted video interviews with 122 out of the complainants and the allegations continue to be thoroughly investigated.
The operation was triggered by a Newsnight episode in which Steven Messham alleged he was abused as a child whilst in the North Wales care home system. The programme alleged that child abuse in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s was far more widespread than had previously been investigated.
Operation Pallial will now move to its second phase, which will involve “taking appropriate action” based on the allegations, in liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service. North Wales Police have also asked the National Crime Agency to continue Operation Pallial’s work to the second phase.
North Wales Chief Constable Mark Polin has urged anyone who has not already done so to come forward, assuring victims that it was “never too late” to report abuse.
He further stated that “people who commit serious and sexual offences should live with the knowledge that we will always examine new information and evidence and seek to bring them to justice for their crimes’.
At Farleys we deal with many historic abuse cases and have a specialist team who are experienced in dealing historic child abuse claims. 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.