The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse released a report on 1 March criticising Chetham’s School of Music and their attitude to allegations of child sexual abuse at the school. The report stated that the school found ‘reputation was more important’ than investigating sexual abuse allegations.
Chetham’s School of Music is a residential school in the centre of Manchester. Following the inquiry’s investigations, they confirmed that boarding schools are the ‘ideal environment for grooming’ due to students becoming more dependent on adults as opposed to non-residential settings.
The inquiry was informed how Michael Brewer, Chetham’s former Director of Music was ‘a powerful figure, having complete autonomy over all matters relating to music’. Brewer was jailed for 6 years in 2013 for sexually abusing a former pupil who took her own life after giving evidence at the trial. Furthermore, a violin tutor who was employed by Brewer in the 1980s abused a number of pupils in his care with their ages ranging between 9 and 15.
Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry, said ‘in some cases, it was clear that protecting the reputation of the school was prioritised over the protection of children from sexual abuse.’
The report made a number of recommendations aimed at improving safeguarding in schools.
Following the release of the report Chetham’s School of Music have issued a statement on their website acknowledging the incidents and apologising. The school have confirmed that they agree with the findings of the report and the recommendations made in relation to safeguarding.
Here at Farleys we have a number of specialists with experience of abuse claims. We understand that for survivors nothing can take away the suffering you have experienced but often find that clients who pursue a claim for damages often find a sense of closure. If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about making a claim concerning child abuse, please contact our specialist team today on 0300 134 6430 or contact us by email.