Camden refusal to publish Stockgrove Park School Child Sexual Abuse report

Camden Borough Council has refused to publish 1997 Barbara Kahan and Bodil Mylnarska Inquiry Report on Stockgrove Park School Child Abuse in response to a Freedom of Information request [2] .

After the FOI request went through an Internal Review  on my request, and in her Internal Review reply [3] Camden Borough Councils Principle [sic] Lawyer Joann Reeves stated that Camdens Childrens Schools and Families department believed disclosure [of the report] would be likely to endanger the physical or mental health of people that attended the Stockgrove Park School during this period and those who might be subject of the report, although no actual evidence was given for this.

Joann was satisfied that there is evidence of a significant risk to the physical or mental health of an individual or individuals that amounts to endangerment and within this, being more than mere stress or worry.[3]

She felt that even a redacted version could potentially identify individuals of interviewed staff or specific incidents; revealing personal and sensitive data. Especially as what she called a synopsis of the report is available in the public domain but is really an article about the report in Community Care 24th  May 2000 by Natalie Valios, (the link of which appears not now to work 24 Jan 2014).

The public interest was outweighed by ..”On balance, it was considered that the significance of the potential harm that the individuals, now in their 30’s, could suffer from the disclosure of this report into the public domain weighted heavily in favour of withholding over all other considerations that could possibly be raised. We mentioned the possible contribution to learning as a factor which may weigh in favour of disclosure as it was felt that this was something to be considered.”[3]

No consideration appears to be given to the healing that might take place for the victim in publishing the report.

There are various parts of this decision that do not quite add up but I will refrain from further comment until the decision has been studied further, to see if it is worthwhile pursuing.

A previous cathyfox blog post [4] covered the subject of this refusal without naming Camden, and asked for child abuse victims comments, all of which supported publication.

Possibly the most convincing way to get this released would be if victims of the Stockwell  Park School Abuse were to confirm that they wished it to be released, overriding any assessment by the Camdens Borough Council Childrens Schools and Families department of their wish for it not to be released. However that is not an easy decision to make for those victims and it may be better to let this matter rest?

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading reports or this blog. The Sanctuary for the Abused [5] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [6] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [7] and Havoca [8]

The Article [1] about the Inquiry Report from Community Care 2000 is reproduced here
Community Care Wednesday 24 May 2000 by Natalie Valios. [1]  (Update January 13 2014 the link to the article appears to no longer work but the content is reproduced below)

“The London Borough of Camden has been severely criticised for the way it dealt with allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at a residential special school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

An independent inquiry, led by child protection expert Barbara Kahan, found little evidence to support abuse claims, but said Camden’s handling of the issue at the time left senior staff feeling gagged.

Camden education department took over responsibility for Stockgrove Park in Buckinghamshire in 1990. Buckinghamshire social services department became responsible for child protection investigations in 1992, while Camden retained responsibility for the school. However, there was little contact between them about policies or procedures until May 1993, by which time the school was in ‘a state of crisis’, says the report.

Camden closed the school in 1994, and a year later commissioned the inquiry into claims by the head teacher that pupils had been emotionally and physically abused before his appointment in 1992.

It also considered anonymous allegations, made while the school was open, against the head teacher and his wife about ‘unacceptable practices’. The education department believed they were made by members of staff, and instructed them to stop criticising. The inquiry found no evidence against the head teacher or staff. But: ‘silencing staff creates a dangerous environment and a culture in which abuse of children can thrive,’ it said.

Another member of staff was accused of sexually abusing pupils. After a disciplinary hearing he was reinstated, but within two months he was suspended again. This time the police were involved and he was dismissed, although no charges were brought. Camden and the police force are re-interviewing former pupils in connection with that allegation.”

Another valuable source of documents on Camden child abuse

Links and References


[2] FOI Request

[3] FOI Internal Review

[4] Previous blog post about refusal

[5] Sanctuary for the Abused


[7] One in Four

[8] Havoca

[9] Spotlight on abuse

cathyfox the truth WILL out

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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16 Responses to Camden refusal to publish Stockgrove Park School Child Sexual Abuse report

  1. Peter r says:

    My husband was abused at stockgrove park in 1986 when he was there


  2. zoompad says:

    What is the name of the person/persons saying that it is for the welfare of the victims that the report should not be released? I think we have the right to know that at least, and research evidence to back his/her opinion up – otherwise it is just anonymous chinese whispers being used to deny victims of institutional child abuse the right to find out who all the people who were responsible for allowing them to be abused were, and that just wont do!

    Stafford have tried that tactic as well, so I have republished the report they are saying they no longer have – and I am one of the victims of Pindown!;postID=8894605434237450713;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname


  3. Kris m says:

    Wow reading this is amazing I just stumbled upon this I myself went to stockgrove park while I was there abuse from staff was the norm I never myself saw sexual abuse but was aware of it but if your talking about the beatings that were dished out to residents then that’s a different matter altogether I myself was physically assaulted by certain members of staff it was so widespread that among the residents we would refer to it as getting jooked some staff were ok but some were right nasty and thought nothing of beating and restaraining young kids to the point of near suffocation I always used to run away in the end I point blank refused to go anymore


  4. Pingback: Refusal of Abuse Inquiry Report – views wanted | cathyfox

  5. Anna round says:

    My husband was a student child st stockgrove park boarding school and was a victim of abuse he is now 41 yrs old and wen he saw wat went in he turn I’ll he’s not coping after all these years he finally came out to me tell me wat happen to him to see him cry emotionaly it hurts me


    • cathyfox says:

      Thanks for sharing that Anna. I have heard if he writes it down then it uses the rational side of his brain, so he should not get too upset whereas if he speaks the story it does. If he would like to write his story anonymously or otherwise I would gladly publish it or whatever is wanted. I hope he finds a good support group. xx


  6. John mccormick says:

    I was at stockgrove park school to 1986 i no what want on i was a victim of the staff there i never talk about that place for this long because i feel dirty and ashamed now i no i was not a lone it was hell for me and i still suffer the affecs to this day but i must be heard to stop it happen to outher kids in school like this


    • cathyfox says:

      Thanks for your courage John in leaving a message. It was not your fault and although i understand you feeling dirty and ashamed you must try not to, you can hold your head up high. If you would like to contact me on , and to others as well if i can be any help in helping to make sure your voice is heard either anonymously or otherwise.


  7. Pingback: Camden Council and Stockgrove Park School Abuse | cathyfox blog

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