1st August 2019

Children in Nottingham Were Systematically Abused Whilst In Care

An inquiry has uncovered an extensive history of abuse of children in council care in Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire County council and Nottingham council are accused of exposing vulnerable children to sexual predators and violence.

The inquiry revealed that sexual abuse at the hands of staff and foster families was either “tolerated or overlooked.”

Inquiry reveals decades of child abuse in Nottingham

The inquiry was conducted by The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) after around 350 complaints were logged dating as far back to the 1960s.

The report claimed that it was the largest number of allegations for any single investigation so far, and predicted that the real figure is likely to be much higher.

Abuse reports span more than five decades, in which officials repeatedly failed to protect the children from further assaults.

The children were victims of repeated rapes, sexual acts and voyeurism whilst living in both council ran homes and foster care.

One home in particular, the Beechwood Community Home in Mapperley, is criticised for allowing “threatening and violent” sexual behaviour towards children, and creating an environment which allowed “abusers to thrive.”

Children were repeatedly exposed to predators

The report described the levels of repeated abuse.

It explained that one girl was abused whilst in foster care, and so was moved into a children’s home, where her abuser was then allowed to visit her.

Another home that was investigated in the 1990s revealed that “all children resident over a 12-month period were…exposed to harmful sexual behaviour.”

The victims reported repeated rapes by staff members, foster fathers and other foster family members.

Report deplores failures of the councils in protecting vulnerable children

The IICSA released the report on Wednesday after over a fortnight of listening to victim accounts.

The report deplored the council’s failures to take action after repeated reports and convictions of abusers.

They wrote: “For more than five decades, the Councils failed in their statutory duty to protect children in their care from sexual abuse.”

“They needed to be nurtured, cared for and protected by adults they could trust.”

“Instead, the Councils exposed them to the risk, and reality, of sexual abuse perpetrated primarily by predatory residential staff and foster carers.”

Have the councils apologised for their failures?

Last year, Jon Collins, the city council leader at the time of the abuse, caused controversy with comments regarding the accusations.

He said he “will apologise when there is something to apologise for.”

Seems like he’ll be spoilt for choice following the release of this report.

The IISCA criticised the council for its secretive handling of the failings.

It claimed the councils were “slow to appreciate the level of distress felt by complainants.”

Report calls for change in the council care system

So, where do the Nottingham councils go from here?

Well, the report has advised that both councils “assess the potential risks posed by current and former foster carers,” and take further steps to ensure safeguarding measures are in place.

They also recommended an independent review into the history of abuse, and proper ways to respond, prevent and assess threatening behaviour against vulnerable children.

 

By Charlotte Ellis