November 9, 2012 Comments Off on Wales child abuse: PM orders sex abuse inquiry probe
Wales child abuse: PM orders sex abuse inquiry probe
5 November 2012
The prime minister is appointing a “senior independent figure” to look into the way allegations of sexual abuse at north Wales children’s homes in the 1970s and ’80s were dealt with.
Victim Steve Messham has said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2000 only covered a fraction of the alleged assaults.
Another of the homes’ residents says it did not hear all of the abuse claims.
Earlier, Downing Street said it would investigate Mr Messham’s claims of abuse by a 1980s Tory politician.
Mr Messham is to meet the Welsh secretary on Tuesday….
Mr Cameron also urged anyone who knows anything about the allegations of abuse to contact police.
Allegations of abuse centred around the Bryn Estyn care home in north Wales and involving almost 40 children’s homes in Wales began to emerge in the 1990s, but a report commissioned in March 1994 by Clwyd County Council was never published amid legal concerns.
The-then Welsh Secretary William Hague ordered an inquiry in 1996 into the abuse, which heard from 650 people over three years who had been in care from 1974, and was published in 2000 by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, who died in 2011.
Carwyn Jones urged abuse victims who felt their cases were not investigated properly to contact the police
Concerns have now been raised that the remit of the inquiry had been too narrow and that it had failed to consider allegations about children being taken out of the homes to be made available to abusers.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight on Friday, Mr Messham said he believed the Waterhouse inquiry had not heard all the available evidence.
“I don’t understand why on earth we had an inquiry if we had to leave out 30% of the abusers, and basically I was told to do that. I was told I couldn’t go into detail about these people, I couldn’t name them, and they wouldn’t question me on them.”
“They didn’t give me a reason, they just said ‘you were not allowed to do so’.”
A source close to Mr Hague – who is now foreign secretary – has told the BBC that no concerns were raised with him about the terms of the inquiry he established when he was Welsh secretary, and that as the report was published more than two years after he left office, his successor could have changed those terms.
Keith Gregory, a Wrexham county borough councillor, told the BBC he was sexually, physically and mentally abused at Bryn Estyn in the 1970s, by staff and others from the local community.
He said he was “shocked and really devastated” that the Waterhouse inquiry had not looked into allegations children had been brought out of homes to be made available to abusers….
The inquiry identified 28 alleged perpetrators but they were never identified in public.