Scotforth House Report 1992 by Janet Smith QC

The Report of the Scotforth House Inquiry into child abuse, authored by Janet Smith QC, commissioned by Lancashire County Council and published November 1992 has been released by Lancashire County Council.

The report is nearly 400 pages long and is released in 4 parts.

I have not had time even to skim through the Report and so any comments, context, summary or corrections would be gratefully appreciated and received. It appears to be about child abuse but not sexual abuse.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this blog or reports
Coping with triggers or support available here
NAPAC is the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, has a freephone helpline and gives links to local support groups

Scotforth House Report will download on clicking these links

Part 1   [1]                 Part 2   [2]                Part 3  [3]               [4] Part 4

The original request is available here, where the downloads are available

FOI Request [5]

Links and References

[1] Part 1

[2] Part 2

[3] Part 3

[4] Part 4

[5] Scotforth House Report

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4 Responses to Scotforth House Report 1992 by Janet Smith QC

  1. pw says:

    Does this report really belong here?
    I have recently come across this blog because I was looking for information about Scotforth House which I visited in early 1974. This visit was very influential on my life and I changed my career path to Special Education (as it was called then). I was very impressed by the teacher in charge and her assistant. These were very early days and this centre for autistic children was a groundbreaking and progressive development for Lancashire. As I recall, the centre had between five and seven pupils.
    It was with great sadness that I read this report. Clearly the rigid teaching methods for autistic youngsters that were the orthodoxy at the time, were applied in an extreme manner. The Teacher in charge was seen locally as an expert in this field that few in the field of education admin in Lancashire had any understanding of.
    The incidents of cruelty to children at the centre dealt with here started in 1987. By this time there were 40 pupils, with insufficient staff in an unsuitable building. The acceptable teaching methods that included restraint by staff and “patterning” had become hardened into practices that can only be described as cruelty to children. These were practised by some other staff, although known of or witnessed by the TIC>
    The report also shows how professionals failed to recognise any sign of abuse, respond to parents’ complaints, exert any form of supervision of the centre or effectively challenge the teacher in charge who became more and more dogmatic and authoritarian when she was eventually challenged.

    This blog deals, almost exclusively with sexual abuse of children. There was no sexual abuse ever suggested in complaints about this centre and its predominantly female staff, teachers and nursery nurses. THis is the story of the application of rigid teaching methods that included appropriate physical contact developing into a regime that included cruelty to children. The story of a leader in the field becoming an authority not to be challenged. A very painful report to read, but it does not deserve a place among the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in this blog

    Please note. Scotforth House was a day school for autistic children, not a residential unit.

    • What do you suggest I do ? make another blog to put this report in or not publish it.? Perhaps you can see fit to make the effort to put it where you think it belongs.

      Before you criticise perhaps you could reflect on the efforts that went into getting it released, so that you can read it at all? Then perhaps you could reflect on the fact that it was blogged, tagged and categorised so that you could find it on a search engine? Perhaps you could praise that before launching into your criticism? Have you found the report anywhere else?? Reflect on that.

      The blog has evolved to deal mainly with child sexual abuse but deals with all child abuse (see title of blog) and this was one of the earlier posts. Have you ever thought to reflect what difficult circumstances all this blogging is done before you criticise? Have you ever thought about the effects your comments would have? You looked through the blog enough to know it is mainly on csa yet not one word of praise about that. Do you not have better things to do than moan that a report about child abuse should not be on a blog about child abuse as many of the posts are about child sexual abuse ? Really?
      I reject your criticism that “it does not deserve a place among the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in this blog”
      What is your real agenda?

      I would love to see your blog …Perhaps you should start one along the lines you suggest..

  2. Andrew Bruce says:

    You need to look further into the role louise Ellman (then Leader of Lancashire County Concil) played in attempts to cover up the story and her personal mission to deny parents of the abused legal aid for representation at the enquiry and possible legal action against the County council.

    Good luck as much of this too has been covered up.

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