The Shepherd Report 1991. Knowl View, Rochdale Child Abuse

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Councils Information Governance Unit have released a copy of the Shepherd Report [2] in response to a Freedom of Information Request [1] .

The Shepherd Report was written in 1991 by Phil Shepherd who was a Council HIV protection officer [3]. Knowl View was a special school for 8 – 16 year olds with learning difficulties. He was so horrified by what he saw that he wrote a report that within one week was given to Diana Cavanagh, Director of Education.

knowl view

Despite evidence that the report was spread [5] within the Council, and indeed two others on the school, the scandal was covered up.

The original report included the following.

“One boy who is homosexual has contact with an adult outside the school. Several of the {senior} boys indulge in oral sex with one another.

“Reputedly {five} of the {junior} boys have been or are involved in ‘cottaging’ in and around public toilets. Men as far away as Sheffield are believed to be aware of this activity and travel to Rochdale to take part.

“One {eight-year-old} is thought to have been involved. The police are aware of the problem. What action has been taken is not known.

“One rent boy has been removed from the school. The suggestion that he may return soon has angered the staff.

“Some boys have been ‘forced’ to have sex with others.”

The words in brackets are among many that the Council has still chosen to censor 23 years later.

It will be interesting to see the “official” reasons for this. I believe I know what they will say. However the real reason, I believe, is that they do not wish to release the fact that a child of 8, in their care, has been allowed to be involved in child prostitution which they have covered up.

And they still want to cover up. Rather than comply with the Act of Parliament, they still wish to massage the information in a public relations exercise by delaying and denying information. It is a classic control tactic, and power and control is of course part of what the abuse was about, and the cover up is about.

The department that deals with Freedom of Information for Rochdale is called an Information Governance Unit – Information Protection and Assurance. The name gives away that information needs to be governed and  protected rather than freed. The result is heavy redaction. The public only being allowed to see what the unit thinks is suitable for the public to see. Ironically they are public servants paid by the public.

The council delayed the Freedom of Information request 3 and a half months when the information should have been released after 1 month. No legal reason was given for the delay and they have failed to give the legal reasons for the heavy redactions – failing their legal obligation.

Copies of the report have in the past made their way into the hands of news agencies [5] [4] [3] but this is the first time the document has been officially made public.

Cyril Smith was a Governor of the school at various points and the Reverend Flowers, disgraced boss of the Coop was a Social Services Vice Chair at a crucial time [6].

Cyril Smith and children from Knowl View

Cyril Smith and children from Knowl View

In 1995 John Pierce, Rochdale council’s chief executive, said police had reviewed the case again recently and found nothing requiring further action.

He added: “The police have also stated quite clearly that they do not believe there is any substance in allegations of a ‘cover-up’ relating to incidents at the school and that all the issues involved were discussed and investigated at the time by a number of agencies and the necessary action taken then.” [3]

However as we have seen around the country Police and Councils have failed to stop child abuse, and the suggestion is that at least they are covering it up due to their incompetence or that they are involved in the abuse.

The police and the council have been forced in 2014 to renew their investigations into the abuse [5]. However it appears somewhat absurd to have these bodies investigating themselves, again.

Whilst many Police and council officials are honest, if an investigation succeeds it will be stopped by Special Branch and MI5 [8] .

Do our authorities really care about child sexual abuse which could easily be called child torture?

Timeline

1969 Knowl View Residential School for opened for children with learning difficulties.

1988 Concerns about the sexual behaviour of the boys were first passed to the council by Dr Alison Frazer, a child psychiatrist at Rochdale’s Birch Hill Hospital [3]

1990 Sept  An incident occurred involving an adult male intruder at the school. That intruder had sexual contact with one or more of the boys on school premises. Mellor report  [3]

1991 Rev Flowers, disgraced ex boss of Coop was vice-chair of the social services committee in 1991 [6]

1991 Mar Phil Shepherd visited Knowl View. 1 week later Phil Shepherd had written the report and submitted it to Mrs Diana Cavanagh, Director of Education. [3]

1991 Apr 11 Investigation by police and social services requested by DOE [5]

1991 May 31 Social Services say No case to answer!! [5]

1992 Feb Report  by Valerie Mellor, a consultant clinical psychologist. In it, Mrs Mellor said there was no doubt up to a quarter of the pupils at the 48-place school had been involved in serious sexual incidents and the activity had continued “over a very long period of time …. It is very difficult to believe that this behaviour had not come to the attention of at least some members of staff.” [3]  Her report suggested that sexual activity was at an end.

1992 c.Jul A pupil and a former pupil, both 14, were cautioned by police for soliciting in the town’s Smith Street lavatories [3]

1995 Knowl View School Closed down [5] Whistleblower Martin Digan, whose appointment as the school’s head of care heralded its closure [6]

1995 Sep 10 Independent [3]  John Pierce, Rochdale council’s chief executive, said police had reviewed the case again recently and found nothing requiring further action. He added: “The police have also stated quite clearly that they do not believe there is any substance in allegations of a ‘cover-up’ relating to incidents at the school and that all the issues involved were discussed and investigated at the time by a number of agencies and the necessary action taken then.”

2013 Sep 11 Exaro Nick Fielding [4]  Knowl View files. Council warned of scandal

2014 Apr 12 Telegraph Melanie Hall [8] and Liberal party allegedly ‘covered up’ MP Cyril Smith’s four decades of abusing children

2014 April Police began a fresh investigation into allegations of abuse and a possible cover-up at Knowl View. A separate independent inquiry is investigating whether Rochdale Council could have done more. [5]

2014 Jun 3 BBC Richard Bilton [5]  Knowl View: Report into abuse at Rochdale school ‘suppressed’

2014 Jun 3 FOI Request [1] for Shepherd Report on Knowl View

2014 Jul 7 ITV Council suspends review for police investigation [7]

2014 Sep 17 Shepherd Report [2] heavily redacted released in reply to Jun 3 2014 request.

This is of necessity a brief overview and not a comprehensive article. I would be grateful to contact Mr Shepherd, receive full copies of any of the reports or any information on abuse.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C] and Havoca [D]. Useful post on triggers [E] from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.

Links, Hyperlinks and Biography

[1] 2014 Jun 3 FOI Request for Shepherd Report https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/shepherd_report#incoming-562609

[2] 2014 Sep 17 Shepherd Report heavily redacted released https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/215076/response/562609/attach/7/8886%20Redacted.pdf

[3] 1995 Sep 10  Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/boys-in-special-school-were-at-risk-of-aids-1600318.html

[4] 2013 Sep 11 Exaro Nick Fielding. Knowl View files. Council warned of scandal http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5085/knowl-view-files-rochdale-council-chiefs-warned-of-scandal

[5] 2014 Jun 3 BBC Richard Bilton. Knowl View: Report into abuse at Rochdale school ‘suppressed’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27687351

[6] 2013 Nov 30 Daily Mail Nick Craven and Ross Slater and Ben Ellery http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2516192/Crystal-Methodist-link-school-described-sweet-shop-paedophiles.html

[7] 2014 Jul 7 ITV Council suspends review for police investigation http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2014-07-07/rochdale-councils-suspends-abuse-independent-review/

[8] 2014 Apr 12  Telegraph Melanie Hall MI5 and Liberal party allegedly ‘covered up’ MP Cyril Smith’s four decades of abusing children http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/liberaldemocrats/10762182/MI5-and-Liberal-party-allegedly-covered-up-MP-Cyril-Smiths-four-decades-of-abusing-children.html

[9] 2014 Sept 16 Radio 4 File on 4 Abused but not Heard http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04grs67

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

[B] NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/

[C] One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/

[D] Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email cathyfox@bigfoot.com.

The truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free   cathy fox

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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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2 Responses to The Shepherd Report 1991. Knowl View, Rochdale Child Abuse

  1. Cj aka Elderofzyklons Blog says:

    Reblogged this on ElderofZyklon's Blog!.

  2. Wirral In It Together says:

    Whilst this isn’t Knowl View, here’s evidence of at best, a fatal lack of rigour, and at worst, yet another cover up (I’d suggest the latter) – when Anna Klonowski was called in to investigate CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) within Rochdale Council’s remit in 2013.

    Follow the link below to read emails and to see evidence of an extremely lax approach to getting witness information down onto the record, which allowed Wirral Council in 2011 (council-led learning disabled abuse and disability discrimination) to heavily redact the Klonowski Report (which remains largely incomprehensible and totally impenetrable 3 years on) and also Rochdale Council (child abuse).

    In the case of Wirral, several senior officers, rather than facing disciplinary action, were gagged, paid off and granted clean bills of health to take to their next senior public sector role.

    Upon checking, this scandalous outcome is also likely to have occurred at Rochdale Council:

    http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/simon-danczuk-mp-is-good-on-getting-the-abuse-message-out-there-what-about-acting-on-info-received/

    My 2013 email to local trailblazer Simon Danczuk MP, signposting these issues, was met with silence.

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