Brian Clare’s Story and Operation Rose

The story of child abuse in the North East has not come out anywhere near properly yet.

Operation Rose was one of the biggest child sexual abuse operations yet it remains largely unknown, and childrens homes and  institutions which came under it have still not had the truth told in public. Indeed most of the childrens homes and institutions that were investigated by Op Rose are still unknown to the public.

witherwack2For more newspaper cuttings not yet shown see 2014 Feb 8 Witherwack House Press Cuttings, Officer Code of Conduct, Document Retention Schedules [13] 

“Operation Rose was launched in 1997 by Northumbria Police after complaints were made that care workers and teachers had abused children in the past.

The three-year investigation involving 40 detectives led to 32 people being charged with a total of 142 offences. In total, 260 residents and former residents of 61 children’s homes made 503 allegations against 197 care workers for alleged physical and sexual abuse. [2]

Of the 32 that were charged, six were found guilty and jailed for a total of 25 years and one other person pleaded guilty. Four suspects died prior to trial.” [2]

Sunderland Council, who must shoulder much of the blame for child abuse in homes run by them, has recently been exemplary in releasing information see Witherwack Category [7] and Sunderland Category [3]

Northumberland Police have much of the information are refusing to release any information so far because it would take them too long to look through it.

“There are over 18,000 documents in relation to Operation Rose, of which there are approximately 90 storage boxes of hard copy documents. This includes over 12,000 actions, over 3,000 statements, and over 4,000 questionnaires. There are also approximately 50 storage boxes of exhibits.”

Various requests are here.  I have found them one of the most unhelpful authorities.

2013 Apr 22 Northumbria Police FOI Recommendations on investigating child abuse for Northumbria Police [9] 

2013 Apr 23 Northumbria Police FOI Operation Rose information  [8]

2013 Aug 8 Northumbria Police FOI Reports from the Rose Inquiry and Care Homes involved [10] 

2013 Aug 8  Northumbria Police FOI Operation Rose and Catalogue of Inquiry documents [4]

2013 Oct 14 Northumbria Police FOI Holmes database [11] 

Is this because they are incompetent and cannot file and retrieve documents efficiently or it is because they are covering up their part in the child abuse scandal in the North East?

Was there really no final report written? That is hard to believe.

This account was written by Brian Clare as far back as about 1992 on Dads Place Forum. Brian is one of the best known and longest serving and popular campaigners against child sexual abuse.

A Story of a Real Survivor of Institutional Abuse – ‘Survivor’ – Brian Clare

I was born on the 23rd January 1968. In 1977 at the age of nine years old I was taken into the care of the local authority by the then, Sunderland Borough Council’s, Social Services Department. As a child I was considered to be a ‘problem child’ and I lived with my mother who was a single parent.

During my early years my behaviour was such that my mother enlisted the support of Sunderland Social Services, and together, they decided that the care home system was the only way to control me. I understand that the reason I was taken into care was due to the fact that I had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

On or about 25 January 1977 I was placed in a local authority assessment centre and I remained there for one a half years. Between 18 July 1977and 26 August 1977 I was placed in a childrens’ home in Northumberland.

I was returned to the assessment home between 26 August 1977 and 16 February 1978 before being transferred to another home in Sunderland, until September 1978, when again I was moved back to the assessment home. On 8 January 1979 I was moved to a very notorious home and I left care completely shortly before my 16th birthday.

Stannington Grove Hospital Before I was subjected to a care order, at the age of six I was admitted to Stannington Grove Hospital. I recall on a daily basis having been subjected to abuse. I was frequently being punched and hit by other children. The staff chose to do nothing about it.

Emsworth House Assessment Centre When I first entered Emsworth House I was eight years old. I recall clearly, being taken to a side room with my mother. I ran away from the home shortly after admission and the only reason was simply to be with my mam.

My punishment for running away was to regarded as a runaway risk and I was therefore treated like a prisoner. The secure unit was like a cell. I remember that there were no light switches or door handles on the inside of the room and there was one plastic light fitting in the centre of the ceiling.

In the door to the room there was a single square window which looked out onto the hall outside. The glass of course was reinforced. The bed was a rudimentary block with a mattress sat on it. The mattress and the pillows all had plastic covers on and there was no real bedding to speak of.

Anyway I had to be content with my surroundings as I was required to spend seventeen hours in the secure unit each day. I have horrible memories of long nights spent in that room and it would true to say that suicide crossed my mind on many occasions. I stole a knife from the class room, during the day, to cut my wrists.

I hid it under the mattress. I never did go through with it I was allowed out of the secure unit during the day to attend a class room. I have distinct memories of an old lady who clearly liked her job., who used to teach in the class. She regularly placed drawing pins on my chair and forced me to sit on them.

She was also very fond of the ruler as a means of corporal punishment and she would often strike my knuckles with it. Another feature of class was the dunce hat, it was a conical hat, like you see in the cartoons. We would be made to wear this hat at times when we were considered to have done something wrong or stupid.

My education was not furthered because of any of my time spent in that class room. In the secure unit I would be forced to go without clothes and had to go for periods of time, naked. Not only was this very cold but it was also degrading for an eight year old boy. Night times were especially bad at Emsworth.

I recall one male worker who would visit my room on a night and stand outside of my room looking through the glass at me. He would then switch the light on quickly for five to twenty minutes. This used to be make me very scared. I can see no other reason why he would do this at all, other than to make me frightened.

The same member of staff also abused me sexually. He had previously been a priest. He used to fondle my genitals and he would pull my pyjama bottoms down. At the time my hair was like Michael Jackson’s and my pyjama top had a picture of Michael Jackson on it. This man made me masturbate him. He also raped me which caused me intense pain. To this day it is extremely traumatic to talk about the sexual abuse I was subjected to.

Witherwack House the Most Notorious On 8 January 1979 I was transferred to Witherwack House, it was a couple of weeks before my eleventh birthday. As far as I know I was the very first resident in the home after it opened and I remained there until 1984. This was to be the worst five years of my live.

Almost immediately after moving to Witherwack House I was subjected to constant physical and psychological abuse by members of staff and ‘care’ workers. I was constantly picked on by members of staff who dragged me around by my neck; punched me, grabbed me by the testicles, gave me black eyes and a broken nose.

I was also forced into a bath of hot water and then cold water. When I was alone the staff beat me, punching me repeatedly with both fists in the stomach and my head, causing great pain. During one such instance I screamed and cried for them to stop but they just kept on beating me. I begged them and still it went on.

I was also sexually assaulted by a male member of staff who later became involved with child protection. He informed me that he would single me out for punishment The forms of punishment employed by the staff at Witherwack House included restraint techniques.

On one occasion my arm was held up my back so badly my shoulder blade needed medical treatment. My thumb would be bent backwards. until it touched my forearm. This was done at least daily and was extremely painful. I suffer from epilepsy and I believe this was caused by my head being hit of objects.

This was not reasonable punishment and force being used – this was eveil. I often heard screams of other residents being abused. Indeed I witnessed a rape of a girl who was eight or nine at the time – I tried to intervene but I was beaten senseless for my trouble – it was the best kicking of my life.

I was assaulted at least five or six times a day. On one occasion I was raped. Children were encouraged to have sex with each other and if we didn’t we would be kicked and beaten all over again. I was also bullied by other children at the home, by the order of the staff – I carry the scars on my head to prove it.

Even now I have flashbacks and nightmares about the abuse. My life has been spoiled as a result of the abuse I have suffered, I do not trust people and sit and study people to try and understand them because I still feel people want to hurt me.

I believe that the Director of Social Services was fully aware of the abuse that went on as was the Assistant Director of Social Services.

Today and Tomorrow……….. As a result of my experiences I have avidly campaigned against child abuse and spoken with local and national media on many occasions to spread the message and raise the awareness of child abuse amongst the public.

In a similar way to when I was in care when I felt it was my duty to absorb the abuse suffered by others, I continue to feel it is my responsibility as a survivor, to try and prevent it happening to others. I have canvassed my local MP and the Government for 15 years; I was awarded damages, but not Justice.

It is also unclear whether Medomsley, investigated by Durham Police was part of Operation Rose, although it could have been.

The abuse at Medomsley, Durham is finally receiving some way overdue attention thanks to some brave survivors and Operation Seabrook was opened in 2013. At present the CPS appear to be taking a long time to decide who goes to trial but hopefully a decision is imminent and favourable for survivors. See the Monsters of Medomsley blog for updates Operation Seabrook – Medomsley Detention Centre [5]

I have just completed another FOI 2017 Jan 30 Northumbria Police FOI Operation Rose [12] but feel free to send your own

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • 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.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]


[1] 2013 Nov 6 TheyWorkForYou Operation Rose archive

[2] 2002 The Journal ‘Carers and teachers had their lives ruined’ via Needleblog Beaconhill Children’s Home

[3] Cathy Fox Blog Category Sunderland

[4] 2013 Aug 8 Cathy Fox to Northumbria Police Operation Rose and Catalogue of Inquiry documents

[5] 2017 Jan 16 Monsters of Medomsley blog Operation Seabrook – Medomsley Detention Centre

[6] 2007 May Brian Clares old blog Operation Rose “My Story”

[7] Cathy Fox Blog Witherwack Category

[8] 2013 Apr 23 Northumbria Police FOI Operation Rose information

[9] 2013 Apr 22 Northumbria Police FOI Recommendations on investigating child abuse for Northumbria Police

[10] 2013 Aug 8 Northumbria Police FOI Reports from the Rose Inquiry and Care Homes involved

[11] 2013 Oct 14 Northumbria Police FOI Holmes database

[12] 2017 Jan 30 Northumbria Police FOI Operation Rose

[13] 2014 Feb 8 Cathy Fox Blog Witherwack House Press Cuttings, Officer Code of Conduct, Document Retention Schedules

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused

Only the small secrets need to be protected, the large ones are kept secret by public incredulity – Marshall McLuhan







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10 Responses to Brian Clare’s Story and Operation Rose

  1. artmanjosephgrech says:

    There are several aspects of this review of what happened to Mr Clare during his period in residential care and the originally separate Operation Rose, Northumbria police Operation to which you refer which merits comment. The first is that the numbers of Homes, complainants and alleged perpetrators which you have included have not been published before, and for once, you do not provide a reference for the overall totals and which are important if they can be substantiated. If the numbers of alleged victims can be substantiated, then there is a question mark over the thoroughness of past police investigations where according to the official report by Northumbria police in 2002 trawling was applied in relation to one in ten of the former residents of the homes investigated.
    There are three issues. The first is the extent of police investigations and their outcome since Operations Rose was ended in 2002, In his respect I was advised by Northumbria Police at a meeting with them in 2014 of a recent successful prosecution in relation to one staff member of a home closed over a decade before and which had been the subject of a Department of Health special inspection 1991/1992 and which has been published online. The investigation and any prosecution after 2002 will be part of the annual statistical information in police authorities and it will be interesting to learn if the National Inquiry has requested such information or it has been requested by the Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons. For each police authority in England Wales how many persons have been investigated and how many convictions obtained in relation to offences of child abuse committed before 2002?
    Secondly, since the publicity concerning the conviction of Savile thousands of victim survivors have self-referred themselves to the police and since 2014 been referred through the non-statutory and statutory national inquiry for England and Wales which is focussed on sexual abuse. Large numbers of survivors are reported to have come forward. It will therefore be of value to break down the information between the period before 2002, between 2002 and the conviction of Saville and the period since.
    Thirdly, there are number of complicating issues. The National Inquiry and its referral system to the police is focussed on sexual abuse. For the past two nights (February 2nd and 3rd Channel 4 news at 7pm as featured two programmes which allege the Church of England at its highest levels covered up the excessive and inappropriate use of physical chastisement by one individual. The extent of excessive damaging and inappropriate physical discipline of children, one form of child abuse, has been side stepped by government in terms of holding any form of inquiry into its extent, although much physical violence towards children and adults has a sexual aspect.
    At the age of 12 when attending an independent Catholic school, I was physically assaulted together with at least half a dozen boys at the same time because the French master (not a priest) did not like the way we pronounced a simple phrase. I was ashamed to say anything at home because I had cried. However, one of the others must have done so because the master was never seen again at the school. Many children have coped with physical punishment without experiencing long term consequences but in my instance, it was part of a chain of experiences which had commenced early childhood. I will write about these experiences if I become comfortable about doing so.
    In 1992 the Guardian newspaper published my article on the more general reasons why I resigned from my position as Director of Social Services, Sunderland after just over one year, having been a Director of Social Services, South Tyneside from 1974 to 1990, and become an ad hoc Department of Health Inspector of Social Services in 1987, which required signing the official secrets acts. In the article, I wrote of the difficulty of separating the cause and effect of what happened before going into care from what happened during care in relation to the impact on the rest of our lives in terms of our subsequent behaviour and relationships. Those of us who have had challenging childhoods are likely to interpret the experiences of others through our own, and to do with less objectivity than those whose childhoods are looked back upon with a genuine fondness.
    It is wrong and damaging for any child to experience any form of abuse and the impact on the child will be no different if happened in residential care, in a foster home by adopters, by a relative, someone known who holds a position of authority or trust, or by a stranger. Those who fail to stop someone abusing, protect that individual or cover up and where the individual continues to commit offences, are in my judgement just as guilty of causing harm as the individual perpetrator. How many individuals have been investigated and then charged, prosecuted and convicted for the offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in this respect before 2002, between 2002 and 2012 and for each year since?
    There are questions to be asked about any accumulation of numbers involving complex situations and complex people, especially when those providing the information face career threats if they do not meet targets, have made mistakes, or have not been as good at their job as they should be. It is always important to understand the context especially if the numbers reflect long periods of time, or have changed over a period.
    Returning to the numbers involved specific to Operation Rose it is important to understand that only part of these relate to Sunderland Council. Operation Rose commenced in 1997 because of the report to the police of one former girl in care in relation to a Newcastle managed establishment and the second investigation focussed on Sunderland (the first was during1991-1993) commenced in relation to some new allegations from former children in care not previously investigated, so in 1998 they were investigated by the same officers involved in Operation Rose. Chief superintending Inspector Dave Wilson made clear the position at a recorded media conference in 1997. I retain a copy of all regional media from that time together with a chronological summary and commentary.
    The significance of establishing if the total of past allegations investigated by the police is accurate is that it has never been clear before if all the allegations and concerns referred during 1991/1992, in 1997 and in 1998 or included in the 2002/2003 civil action for reparations were investigated by the police and in appropriate instances referred to the Crown Prosecution service and to the courts. In 2002 my pro bono lawyers and those representing 60 former children involved in the Civil Action provided lists of former children, alleged perpetrators and homes for me to check on possible overlaps.
    There were over 100 names of complainants but only three names were on both lists. Some of the information given to the Police, the Department of Health and the Secretary of State for Social Services 1991/1993 did not specify potential perpetrators but the total I could establish was in the order of 120. The number of local authority homes or homes provided by other bodies was approximately 60.
    You will appreciate that Medomsley was not in the category of establishments mentioned. Medomsley was a Detention Centre managed directly by the prison department of the Home Office and where such establishments are now managed by the Department of Justice. It was not located in the area managed by the Northumbria Police Force which covers Northumberland and the five local authorities of Tyne and Wear. Sunderland the largest authority, and where I was Director of Social Services 1991/1992, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside where I was Director of Social Services 1974/1990. Three of four longest serving Directors of Services/Directors of Social Work in the UK worked for authorities in Tyne and Wear. The Director of Social Services Newcastle 1971-1993 and who have been Children’s officer at Newcastle and before that at Gateshead where he described the hostel for Girls as the town brothel, and the Director of Social Services Sunderland 1971-1990.
    Official statements about Operation Rose were made in the form of memorandum submitted to the 2002-2003 House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee chaired by the Sunderland South, Member of Parliament, Chris Mullin in their fourth report to Parliament concerned with investigations into allegations of past child abuse and on the question of reparations. The main recommendation was that trawling of former children and investigations into the past should stop unless authorised by a Judge and Civil actions in such cases should become part of a reformed Criminal Injuries Board system. Former Prime Minister David Cameron and present Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson were members together with Mr David Winnick who remains a member. It is for this reason the National Inquiry continues to have difficulty in responding to requests from a committee which is part of one the institutions that it is said was involved in the alleged cover up. Another chairman of this Committee was employed as a solicitor in two of the local authorities under investigation by the Statutory Committee. I am not suggesting complicity in cover up by any member of the Home Affairs Committee, past or present, but it is the kind of association which led to the first two chairmen of the original non-statutory inquiry standing down. A solution is for an ad hoc committee of both Houses to be created to which the National Inquiry could present published reports and answers questions.
    Indeed, when in 1991 as Director of Social Services, Sunderland, I decided I had no alternative but to draw the attention of Northumbria police to matters that had come to my attention, I made the point that I was not commenting on the validity of the allegations but believed they should have been referred to the police because of what was alleged and which the Crown in subsequent criminal proceedings described as akin to torture. It is not generally known that consequently I was asked by defence lawyers as well as Northumbria Police to give evidence at the Pre-Trial hearing of criminal proceedings in 1993, meeting with the prosecution and Northumbria Police beforehand and spending a day in a room with the former children who were crown witnesses in proceedings which led to two convictions and one finding of not guilty, separated from the Councillors and Council officers who were also asked to attend.
    Similarly, there has been the ongoing belief that I have been gagged or silenced from talking about matters in relation to Sunderland Council because of an Order of the High Court made in 1993, following on from a similar Order made in relation to Northumbria Police arising from a widely-circulated article by Nick Davies in the Guardian in 1998, part of a three-article investigation which he has placed on line with his other articles.
    The 1993 Order specified that all the documentation involved and listed in an affidavit is protected and cannot be destroyed unless I authorise and the Order also makes clear my ongoing ability to communicate about matters, including confidential and restricted matters with central and local government, the police and the judicial system. This enabled me to communicate with Secretaries of State in 1997 before and after the General Election and Northumbria Police, and being visited at my home to discuss access to confidential information in 1999 which I referred to my pro bono lawyers.
    I referred matters to the Solicitor General in 1998 and followed the written advice given by someone who became Permanent Secretary Cabinet office 2010-2015 and is presently Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice. I had contact, and a meeting, with Northumbria Police in 2014, after communicating with the then Secretary of State for Education, and have had periodic communication with Sunderland Council since the autumn of 2013. As your report states, uniquely, Sunderland Council has been able to publish some information which at the time I marked private and confidential thus disclosing the names as well as the designations of those circulated. All public officials, particularly those who have worked or had responsibility for child protection and social services more generally are restricted from disclosing matters about individuals which come to their attention during their official work.
    It is also important to stress that local authorities were prevented from admitting liability about what happened to children in care and in other institutions or at the hands of those employed by all forms of national institutions by the Liability insurers they are required to have contracts unless they are to manage liability directly as some authorities have chosen to do. In 1993 Sunderland Council was instructed by its Liability Insurers to initiate High Court Injunctions to prevent information which Northumbria Police had passed from me to the prosecution and to lawyers for the defence becoming public through criminal proceedings.
    Part 2 follows

    Liked by 1 person

  2. artmanjosephgrech says:

    I now turn to the Memorandum from Northumbria Police to the Home Affairs Committee in 2002.

    Submitted by Chris Machell, Detective Chief Superintendent, Northumbria Police (CA 188)
    “Operation Rose, an enquiry conducted by Northumbria Police into allegations of Historic Sexual and Physical Child Abuse within care homes throughout the North East of England, began in 1997.
    The investigation commenced after a woman in her twenties disclosed to a Social Worker, that she and a friend had both been subjected to Sexual and Physical abuse whilst they were residents in a Newcastle upon Tyne care home.
    (It has not been established if this is the same young woman whose experience is described by Tim Tate in his book Slave Girl and who was subsequently trafficked to Holland. I did have communication and received information about a young woman in strictest confidence from someone who lived in Sunderland 1997-2002 and who was in contact with a London based special police unit and who assisted Sunderland former Children, and who also investigated a high-profile Newcastle based paedophile ring about which she had contacted me. She was also in contact with the Sunderland Echo, The Newcastle Journal and Evening Chronicle and the regional Sunday Sun and Northern Echo which had focussed on related issues over the decade. The Shields Gazette also did so to a more limited extent as did BBC Look North and ITV Tyne Tees News).
    “After a multi-agency meeting between Police, Newcastle Social Services and the NSPCC, officers set out to fully investigate the claims. Initial enquiries revealed that six victims were alleging abuse by eight suspects who had been employed in a total of seven Care Homes within four Local Authority areas. Some of these allegations dated back to the 1960s. The investigation rapidly expanded to 10 victims and 20 Children’s Homes. “
    (Following my contact with the Secretary of State in 1997 and the appointment of a link officer at the Department of Health, Sunderland Council agreed an investigation conducted by the NSPCC and approval was given for me to make a written submission and to interview which is referred in the subsequent published report and which Sunderland Council has placed on line (following your request via
    “Following best practice established in other areas, Northumbria Police established that the only manageable way of developing the enquiry would be to seek information from a fixed proportion of residents in each of the Care Homes. “
    (This was the situation in relation to the North Wales and the Waterhouse Inquiry and means that Waterhouse and Macur inquiries did not investigate why 69 children from Newcastle who were placed in the homes of the now twice convicted and imprisoned owner. There was also an unspecified number of children from Newcastle who were sent to the homes on short term Intermediate treatment. Newcastle City Council undertook its own investigation why this happened and I am aware that police from North Wales visited Newcastle and checked on the position of children sent from the region. Convicted staff in relation to Wales and Calderdale for example had also worked in homes in the North East. Sometimes there was a follow up, sometimes this happened later, sometimes it did not. At a branch meeting of the Association of Directors of Social Services in the North East the Director of Social Services for Newcastle recommended the placement of children in the Bryn Alyn homes mentioning the hospitality received on a visit and which was available It is known that at least one London Director of Social services also placed children Bryn Alyn Homes.)
    “Without revealing the nature of their investigations, the enquiry team wrote to 10 per cent of former residents, informing them that an enquiry had commenced into a Home at which they were once resident, and asking them if they had any information which might help. One third of the recipients replied either saying they had information or stating that they did not wish the police to contact them.
    “The courts subsequently upheld the process, accepting that the letter simply sought information and did not make suggestions to the recipients. No complaints of malpractice were received and no allegations of collusion between victims has been upheld. “
    (At my meetings with representatives of former children in care of Sunderland Council in 1997 it was made clear that some of group did not want to have contact with the police and therefore I recommended to the Secretary of State that the wishes of those who did not want their experiences to be reported to the police should be respected. Unfortunately, the NSPCC made a blunder which had distressing consequences in that the NSPCC secretary sent to one survivor a copy of all the statements of all the survivors intended for Northumbria Police and before the mistake was discovered these statements were copied and circulated between members of the group and I was advised this had happened. I therefore had no alternative but to advise the appropriate authorities, and subsequently advised the survivors and their lawyers of my action. My understanding is that the statements were copied for the survivors by the Sunderland branch of the union NALGO and not by the Sunderland Echo).
    (I had only limited direct involvement in the Operation Rose inquiry following contact from South Tyneside Council for information in relation to one victim who had been for a time in a home managed by the local authority)
    “In 1998, the enquiry was broadened to include renewed allegations concerning Carers working at Witherwack House, Sunderland, which had been subject to an earlier investigation in 1992.” (1992 is not correct as I met with Commander Holder and Detective Chief Inspector Wilson in 1991 and attended a joint meeting between Northumbria police and the Department of Health shortly afterwards, setting up a unit of social workers at a secret location, securing documentation and who worked alongside the investigating Northumbria Police officers providing them with whatever documentation was required).
    “Six people were found guilty of a variety of charges and sentenced to a total of 20 years’ imprisonment, including one 12-month sentence suspended for two years. Three suspected died prior to trial. Several cases were halted because the judiciary deemed that the length of time taken for the cases to reach court breached Article 6 of the Human Rights Act, which requires a hearing within a reasonable time.”
    (I can provide a copy of the press report in which the Trial judge provided several reasons why the prosecutions could not proceed which included the death of one of the accused, the number of previous investigations, the destruction of staff records at Witherwack House when the home was demolished and evidence contamination)
    (In launching the nationwide police investigations and reinvestigations in 2014 and in setting up the original and subsequent Statutory Inquiry for England and Wales the Government has repeatedly made it clear that that there is no time limit obstacle to police investigations and subsequent judicial proceedings if appropriate evidence is established.)
    “Many delays, however, occurred because of adjournments made at the request of defence lawyers and the courts themselves. One “fast track” case—which should have been heard in 96 days took 33 months to come to court, despite all necessary Police work being completed within the required deadlines. The final trial arising out of the Operation Rose investigation concluded in April 2002.”
    “All the agencies involved in the enquiry, including the Crown Prosecution Service and the counselling services provided for victims, have since reviewed the processes involved in the investigation. Some of the “Good Practice Pointers” have been summarised as requested and are attached to this letter.”
    “My views in relation to four of the five specific questions contained in the committee’s press notice accord with those expressed by Mr Grange on behalf of ACPO. Question two is a matter for the CPS I believe.”
    May 2002
    Good Practice Recommendations Generated from Operation Rose
    De-brief Meetings
    1. *Early consultation, via the National Crime Faculty, with officers who have investigated similar allegations elsewhere.
    2. *Involvement of Crown Prosecution Service from the outset
    3. *Consider tape recording all victim’s interviews, not just children.
    4. *Appointment of a team of prosecution barristers to handle all cases.
    5. *Judicial processes to focus on speedy resolution of cases.
    6. *Development of a national protocol for the recording of unused material.
    7. *Social Services departments to consider retention of staff discipline records.
    8. *Co-ordinated support for victims before, during and after enquiries.
    9. *The “Abuse of Process” point inextricably linked to unused material. There must be greater awareness within all agencies of this issue and a review of their record keeping policies.
    10. *Protocols like those with Social Services should be put in place with Health Professionals and counselling services for easier access to records “
    In memorandum 2 to the Home Affairs Committee from the Association of Chief Constables there is also information from Northumbria Police but because of the importance of the submission and information included from some Police authorities from throughout England and Wales it is attached at the end of this writing.
    I understand the continuing frustration of survivors such as Mr Clare at not getting the answers to questions about what happened to them as children and it is a matter of concern that that it will be years before some of the general questions about cover up by the state and other institutions will be answered. Survivors are motivated by a wide range of issues and these are included in the summary of response to the recent National Inquiry seminars on Accountability and Reparations.

    “It is clear from the submissions that there is no “one size fits all”. There are a variety of outcomes that victims/survivors seek from the civil claims process. These include:

    acknowledgment of the abuse having taken place;
    acknowledgement of the harm done;
    access to counselling and therapeutic support;
    an apology;
    an independent and impartial investigation;
    truth and accountability;
    punishment of the abuser;
    an admission of institutional failure;
    a commitment to learning lessons;
    changes to prevent recurrence;
    and a “day in court”. Civil Justice System Issues Paper: A summary of the themes raised by respondents 28th November 2016. Library National Inquiry.

    It is good that the National Inquiry is also having to cover matters already investigated by previous Inquiries with the most important the statement made by Secretary of State Franck Dobson in November 1998 in introducing the Government response to the Children’s Safeguarding review led by Sir William Utting, People Like Us 1997 In the forward, Command Paper 4105, Mr Dobson said

    “This wasn’t just a failure by care staff. The children have been failed by social service managers, councils, councillors, police, schools, neighbours, the Social Services Inspectorate, Government Departments, Ministers and Parliament. Some people from all these categories and institutions had worked hard to do a good job for these children but many did not. The whole system had failed. “He ended by adding “There can be no more excuses”

    Part 3 follows


  3. artmanjosephgrech says:

    I have explained to Mr Clare and others the overall nature of my involvement in relation to Sunderland Council where I became Director of Social Services in 1991 and resigned which took effect early in 1992, having been Director of Social Services at South Tyneside 1974-1990. I would have become a Director of Social Services in 1971 on the recommendation of the Home Office had I not already agreed a contract of employment with Cheshire County Council.) Within the terms of the Confidentiality agreement signed in 1992, the High Court Injunction and Order of 1993 and the raft of legal measures which restrict individual officers disclosing information without prior approval I can state the following

    Prior to taking up my appointment at Sunderland I had been made aware that a serious matter had not been reported to the police but not the details of that matter. Other Directors of Social Services were present when this happened.
    A couple of months after taking up the appointment I was contacted by the Sunderland Echo concerning several situations which included residential homes for children and a fax was sent in relation one matter at the Witherwack House establishment. I immediately advised the Department of Health and two of their officers investigated. Following discussion with the Department of Health I could write to the Leader of the official opposition who had requested an independent investigation that based on the investigation undertaken there was no need for an independent investigation at that time. I had one subsequent meeting with the Leader of the official opposition at her request and I had further contact in 1997.
    On return from a summer holiday in 1991 I received an unopened communication from the Editor of the Sunderland Echo and at a meeting with the Deputy Editor I was advised that the contents had been confirmed with my predecessor.
    I initiated further investigation and as consequence of this investigation discovered that there were two sets of files and on seeing the contents of the unofficial files and given the circumstances at that time I contacted the local police commander (Northumbria Police Ted Holder) and he arranged for me to meet the senior member of the Criminal Investigations Department concerned with child protection matters- Detective Chief Inspector Dave Wilson.
    An investigation was agreed, the local authority and the Department of Health was advised. The Department of Health immediately arranged a meeting with Northumbria police and I immediately put into effect the advice including subsequent written instruction from the Department of Health. I am aware that my successor also received written instruction from the Department of Health. I was provided with copies of these letters in 2002 by Sunderland Solicitors Richard Reed who led several legal firms in the Class Action. I have been advised all their documentation has been destroyed.
    In 1993 two persons were convicted and one found not guilty in relation to those matters and which the Crown prosecution described as akin to torture and where as part of the authorised behaviour modification programme used at Witherwack (and other establishments managed by Sunderland Council) children in care had been required to physically assault other children. This is part of the court proceedings. The impact on being involved in harming other children in care as a child should not be underestimated.
    It is my understanding that a similar situation occurred at the Detention Medomsley County Durham, an establishment run by the former Home Office Prison department which has become the responsibility of the Department of Justice and where the national Inquiry has established an Investigation leading to a Hearing and opened an office at nearby Darlington and agreed a contract to provide victims with support. Durham Police and not Northumbria Police were responsible for the area in which Medomsley was located). I believe children were committed to Medomsley by courts from throughout the North and possibly from further away. Nearly1000 former children are reported to be involved in the police investigation. The Probation and After care service/agency was the main social work service involved.
    It will be appreciated that as in Sunderland and other areas abuse was also physical, psychological and emotional and not sexual. It will be appreciated that beating children was commonplace in family as well as institutional homes until recently and there are many interests who would like to see physical punishment made lawful again. While the statutory inquiry is focussed on child sexual abuse much of its work covers the prevention of all forms of abuse, the care and after care provided and questions of accountability and reparations apply to all forms of abuse.
    During 1991 Sir Alan Levy and former Children’s Officer and Deputy Home Office and Department of Heath Chief Inspector/Social Services Adviser Barbara Kahan published their report on the behaviour modification practices which had been introduced into homes provided by Staffordshire County Council. These practices had been imported into social service department with the abolition of the Approved School Order in 1969 and attempted integration of approved schools into a new system of residential homes with education on the premises. The problem was that because staff at all levels lacked the training, experience and abilities to manage a behaviour modification programme, it was inevitable the results in some establishments would be horrendous. All social services authorities were asked to review care programmes and ensure that harming practices were ended. The communication was addressed to Chief Executives, Chief Legal Officers, Directors of Education and to Social Services Directors with requests to undertake a review and to stop any practices. I was misled about past and ongoing practices by those undertaking the investigation except for the legal officer appointed to assist in the review.
    The following information is in part already public knowledge. The then Vice Chairman of the Social Services Committee was reported to have held a meeting a one home where his wife was employed and told staff to ignore the instructions required by the Department of Health. He was reported to be canvassing councillors for my dismissal
    The following has not been made public but is in the public interest particularly of victims. The information was relayed to the Secretary of State for Social Services and consideration was given to removing Child Care and protection function from the local authority. The then Chairman of the Personnel Sub Committee told me to my face he was seeking my sacking after the department had sacked a member of staff in a residential care home for children for hitting a child in care and his committee had reinstated the officer on appeal.
    The following information has not been made public but was instrumental in the Secretary of State being recommended to remove the child care and protection functions from the Council
    I had been asked by the Chairman of the Social Services to submit a report on the future of residential care for children to the Council and was then ordered not to make certain recommendations first by the Chairman of the Committee and then by the Chief Legal Officer of the Council. I advised the Department of Health and the Chief Executive and Chief Legal Officer of the Council were summoned to the regional office of the Department of Health and went away with “a suitcase of documentation”.
    I was already in conflict with my employers over a separate matter which concerned residential homes for the elderly and where it is not appropriate to go into any details other than I took up the appointment assuming the local authority knew of my experience at neighbouring South Tyneside. On appointment as Director of Social Services designate for South Tyneside in 1973 I had been shocked about the state of the residential care homes for the Elderly in South Tyneside and the reception home for children and arranged for all members of the Social Services Committee and colleagues in other departments to visit. The Council immediately ordered their replacement and only control of capital funding by central government meant that it was five years before every one of these homes was replaced by purpose build homes for the elderly and the immediate substantial adaptation of another building to form a new assessment centre for children admitted into long term residential care. Admissions were reduced in advance to avoid the transfer of elderly residents between establishments and there was national and local evidence that to move residents between homes immediately adversely affected, including premature death. South Tyneside also agreed to the closure of its residential nursery but kept the establishment open, including fully staffed for the last child for six months until a suitable family home could be found.
    In 1992 after I resigned my position at Sunderland I had direct correspondence with a Secretary of State on the issue of closing Homes for the elderly following the publication of the Guardian article on the more general reasons why I resigned. I have never been against a wide range of public independent and private bodies providing care services and South Tyneside had been at forefront of financially and managerial assisting other bodies and agencies to provide accommodation and services for those subject to domestic violence, for drug misuse, for children leaving care and for children to be cared by those of the same religious belief. However, I and the Council were strongly opposed to insisting that services had to be placed to tender under the 1990 Community Care Act and on behalf of the Council had submitted four papers to the House of Commons Social Services Committee and I provided evidence at a public session of the Committee. At the meeting, I was in direct conflict with the Association of Directors of Social Services which fully supported privatization and it is noteworthy that none of those then involved participated in the recent letter to the Guardian and representations to Council leaders and members of Parliament at the decision to starve local authority of funding, particularly for vulnerable adults in need and of all ages.
    Between 1971 when people with no experience or interest in child care and protection imposed generic management and generic social work practice on the Children’s Services, and 2006 when the division between adult and children’s services was made, Directors and their senior staff were responsible for services for the elderly, for those mental health and learning difficulties and for all forms of physical disabilities in addition to responsibilities of child care and protection. For the record, South Tyneside was one of the first authorities to create a children’s department within the structure of the social services department and in the 1992 Guardian article, I urged the formal management separation of children’s services from adults and in a regional news programme a mouthpiece for the Association of Directors of Social Services described my intervention as unhelpful.
    The situation was reached when through the Chief Executive I offered my resignation as I believed it was in the future best interests of the social services provided by Sunderland Council to do so, and it was accepted. I have since debated if I could have been more effective if I had continued. I also want to emphasise that for close on two decades I was part of a system which failed children in public care
    I have continued to shy away from personal publicity about what happened at Sunderland 25 years ago, because what happened to me it is not important. What happened to children in care there, and all over the UK, is.
    I was also aware that my resignation in 1992 was the beginning and not end my involvement and I advised several appropriate parties of issues within the constraints of an agreed confidentiality order. I agreed to a meeting with the District Auditor at his request in relation to several wider issues. I agreed to a formal and recorded interview with Northumbria Police and arising from what was disclosed to me, I followed this up with three further statements and a documentation Index. I was advised these were passed to the Prosecution Services. I also prepared a comprehensive report submitted to the Secretary of State and her officials for which I received written thanks early 1993 as being helpful in the continued monitoring of Sunderland Social Services.
    I had two meetings at the request of a former Director of Social Services contracted by Sunderland Council to review the matters I had raised and raised by the Department of Health in the report of the Special Inspection, undertaken by Inspectors from outside the Northern Region. I then had a meeting at the home of the Municipal Editor of the Sunderland Echo who provided a copy of his draft report for me to read and we discussed the pressures he was under to restrict his recommendations to the present and the future. I had recommended that all the files of all the children placed at Witherwack House should be reviewed by social workers in the first instance and not just those of the three previous three to four years as well as several other matters in different child care homes.
    This former Director of Social also did the first report in relation to Islington Council and five years later is reported to have told the Northern Echo in response to a query from the Leader of the Opposition of Sunderland Council that he had destroyed his documentation. After criminal proceedings in 1993 ended I alerted the Department of Health of the need to ensure that all matters had been appropriately investigated.
    In 1997, as I subsequently found out, a local solicitor, now a district Judge brought representatives for group of former children, including Mr Clare to my home. They knocked on the door, an asked for my help. I believed what they said and promised to consider how best to help. At the second meeting I advised that I had written to the Secretary of State reminding of past concerns and suggested that in the first instance the complainants should be independently interviewed and the matters raised independently investigated. Those who wished should have their concerns referred to the police.
    As already mentioned I wrote and met with the investigating NSPCC officers and advised appropriate interests of the potential for evidence contamination. It is important to emphasise that the individual statements had been independently prepared and were not subsequently changed, and that as reported to the Chris Mullin Sunderland South MP Home affairs Committee, Northumbria Police were satisfied there was no evidence of prior collusion. In the event the criminal trial did not take place and the victims were left without any meaningful justice
    I also had written communication with the new Secretary of State following the 1997 General Election and arising from information expressed concerns to my ongoing Department of Heath contact who suggested in writing contacting the Commissioner for Local Government. I contacted the local authority about this and was advised in writing that my continued contact with former children was being reported to the Council Liability Insurers. I prepared a submission to the Solicitor General completed in 1998 and followed the written advice. I made a submission to Liberty and then prepared written information for the appointed pro bono lawyers. These lawyers in turn made application for Council Opinion pro bono to the Bar Council which was agreed and provided. There was one meeting between the lawyers and Sunderland Council.
    Northumbria Police visited at home for access to documentation in 1999 which I referred to the lawyers. I was provided with legal advice and access to restricted information by the lawyers and those representing the former children in the class action in 2002 in preparation for being called to give evidence in the event of the action going to trial. At the successful conclusion of the Class Action in 2003 I checked that all those who wanted matters referred to the police had been given opportunity and if there was further assistance required.
    Sometime after this I was made aware that the Journalist Nick Davies had placed online the three articles on his 1997/8 investigation in national abuse in the UK and that an article which featured Whistleblowers was being re-blogged on social media as it continues to this day by Mr Clare and others.
    I commenced a once or twice a year Googling of my name which is a common one, including a local Taxi driver convicted of rape!
    In the autumn of 2013, having previously had a meeting with another representative of former Sunderland Children in care in 2012 at his request, I Googled myself again and discovered the Cathy Fox site for the first time, together with I spoke with the Information officer for Sunderland Council and in the light of what was said wrote to the Chief Executive. I also wrote to Information officers at the Department of Health and Education and was surprised at the ignorance of one department who appeared to have no knowledge of the existence let alone role of the former National Social Work Advisory Services/Social Services Inspectorate. The present Secretary at the Home Office has admitted to the Home Affairs Committee that his department were not aware of the role of the Home Office Children’s Department Inspectorate and which included the Inspection of all forms of residential care homes, excluding the Approved Schools.
    On January 2nd 2014 I met at Kings Cross station and spent several hours at the Parcel’s Office hostelry with two members of a group which Deputy Leader Tom Watson and an original member of the Prime Minister’s first Inquiry were associated.
    I have little politically in common with the political party of the Prime Minister but her repeated demands for transparency about what has happened to children in public care or at the hands of those involved in public institutions is something I respect.
    While I was away visiting relatives over Christmas and New Year I received information via Twitter from a third party that the Leader of Sunderland Council had visited the home of Mr Clare while on political party business, and is alleged to have said to him that the Council proposed to request the lifting of the High Court Order(s) in order that the truth of what happened could become public. A copy of a subsequent invitation to Mr Clare for a Leader’s meeting was provided via Twitter. I have written to the Leader and Chief of Sunderland Council advising of my willingness to continue to assist the Council if required. Colin Smart 04/02/2017

    appendix from association of chief constables to follow


  4. artmanjosephgrech says:

    MEMORANDUM 2 submitted to the Chris Mullin led Home Affairs Committee 2002/2003 session of Parliament.
    Submitted by Chief Constable Terence Grange, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) (CA 119)
    Do police methods of “trawling” for evidence involve a disproportionate use of resources and produce unreliable evidence for prosecution?
    The Committee has invited a response to the issue of “police trawling”; assumedly there is a perception that this is an acknowledged investigative approach. That is not the case. Rather it is the case that those seeking to impugn the integrity of the investigations the Committee is concerned with use the epithet “trawling”. It implies a widespread and indiscriminate search for alleged victims without concern for rules of evidence and the reliability of the witness or complainant and the evidence they purport to provide.
    In support of these claims critics suggest that letters sent to former residents of care institutions create an expectation of compensation and inexorably lead the person receiving the letter to consider or make a false claim of abuse. To assist the committee, I append a sample of the letters sent.
    It is the case that no investigation of “historical” abuse has commenced other than by a former resident or residents seeking out the police and making allegations as to their treatment. In some cases, notably the “survivors of Forde Park” former residents had been seeking an investigation for several years.
    The initial allegations were of the most serious sexual assaults, all allegedly committed on children or young people aged between 12 and 18 years of age at the time of the alleged assaults.
    Each apparent victim will have been required to make a statement of complaint in accordance with Section 9, Police and Magistrates Courts Act. Each will have been made aware of and signed the declaration at the top of each statement. The police investigation will then take a familiar pattern and will be conducted within the procedures laid down in the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act (CPIA) and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).
    The Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act Codes of Practice Part II, state that officers conducting investigations into criminal allegations should pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry, whether these point towards or away from a named suspect.[1] Attempts to corroborate or undermine an allegation must be made by the investigating officer.
    “Historic” investigations are unusual in that forensic evidence is much less likely to be available. In these cases, the purported witnesses would have been resident in care institutions during the relevant times. Therefore, those witnesses would have to be traced and offered the opportunity to provide information and evidence.
    The numbers of potential witnesses/victims are such that were each to be visited personally the enquiries would be inordinately long. Many would have no evidence to give or not wish to become involved. Therefore, alternative approaches constructed after discussion with the independent Crown Prosecution Service were and are adopted.
    For each suspect a timeline as to their presence at a relevant institution is prepared and local authority records for the establishment examined to identify those residents at the time. Other than those named by the apparent victim or victims, who will be sought out and where willing interviewed, a sample of all known residents during the relevant period will be made; ordinarily 10 per cent or 50 residents will be written to and advised of the enquiry and asked if they wish to become involved. Some enquiries have sought out all former residents, in one case at the request of the defence team. A sample of those letters from various enquiries is appended. Recent statistics from one such enquiry, with relevance to the issue of compensation are appended also. They suggest that less than 10 per cent reply.
    Should a positive reply be received the respondent will be visited and a statement taken.
    Other forms of contact have included calling at the address without notification and telephone questionnaires. Both have been potentially harmful to the individual.
    As a matter of law, it is for respective chief constables to decide upon the deployment of their resources and upon the investigations that will or will not be conducted. The Committee will be aware of the Blackburn judgement that underpins the operational independence of chief constables.
    It is the case that a major enquiry such as a murder, rape or serious sexual assault on a minor of whichever sex will have large resources applied to it. An efficient enquiry will be speedily conducted within the constraints of the CPIA and PACE Acts. To assist the Committee’s deliberations a murder involving a stranger or a similar enquiry of major public interest would have a minimum 36 detective constables employed on enquiries, in accordance with ACPO guidelines. These investigations involved the most serious sexual and physical assaults on minors at the time in the care of the state.
    In the interests of the apparent victims, those accused and public confidence in the care system it would be an imperative that the allegations were investigated thoroughly and as speedily as possible. Therefore, the appropriate resources would be applied after the investigating officer had made a well-founded case for those resources. Each of the enquiries referred to by critics commenced with allegations being brought to the notice of the police or other social agency. The enquiries and staffing followed and were and are regularly reviewed.
    The suggestion that the enquiries are disproportionately resourced in comparison to other needs, which are more current, is based on a false proposition and would if acted upon lead to a gross miscarriage of justice to those who were victims. That incidents, which occurred many years ago, retain an ability to cause harm is the rationale behind the Saville enquiry into the actions of government servants some 30 years ago, in Northern Ireland. The arguments in favour of these enquiries, incorporating some individuals still involved in managing children in care are directly analogous to the Saville enquiry. In these cases, people, have been convicted having pleaded guilty to a lifetime of abuse of minors in their care.
    It is the case that of those persons charged with offences and who went to full trial in the Merseyside operation some 50 per cent pleaded guilty; most those to serious and repetitive sexual assaults on children. A significant proportion of those charged with offences from investigations in other forces have pleaded guilty also. In most these cases the offenders were admitting to serial abuse of minors.
    From the figures, available it appears that the police and the Crown Prosecution Service discontinue some 90 per cent of investigations at an early stage, in accordance with CPS guidelines on sufficiency of evidence and reliability of witness’s evidence.
    Put simply, allegations of minor assaults where corroboration is lacking are not pursued.
    Where investigations are pursued, the evidence is subject to independent scrutiny by the CPS, by the independent barrister appointed to lead the prosecution, by the presiding judge and by a jury. The antecedent histories of all the apparent victims and all prosecution witnesses are made available to the defence under disclosure rules. Their lifestyle, motivation and credibility are open to forceful challenge by defence counsel. Despite claims to the contrary, many of the apparent victims and witnesses are neither career criminals nor seeking compensation, as court records would testify.
    The adversarial system of our judicial process subject’s prosecution witnesses to in depth and repeated challenges as to their integrity, memory and motivation. These challenges are made before a judge and a jury of their peers.
    Should there be a time limit—in terms of number of years since the alleged offence took place—on prosecution of cases of child abuse?
    To assist the Committee I refer to two documents; “Setting the Boundaries”[2] and “Lost in Care”[3].
    “Setting the Boundaries” is a consultation paper on modernising the laws on sex offences. Its terms of reference were:
    — To review the sex offences in the common and statute law of England and Wales, and make recommendations that will:
    — Provide coherent and clear sex offences which protect individuals, especially children and the more vulnerable from abuse and exploitation;
    — Enable abusers to be appropriately punished, and
    — Be fair and non-discriminatory in accordance with the ECHR and Human Rights Act.
    The review process was inclusive, wide ranging and sought amongst other issues to take account of the ECHR and the Human Rights Act and Article 6 of the ECHR on the need to ensure a fair trial and that the interests of justice are upheld.
    Following in depth analysis, the authors of “Setting the Boundaries” recommended that there should be no time limit on prosecution for the new offence of sexual activity with a child.[4]
    “Lost in Care” is the title of the Waterhouse Report into the abuse of children in care in the Council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974. Waterhouse reported that “failings that were common to all the Gwynedd community homes included the absence of any complaints procedures until a handbook was drafted and published in 1985”.[5] He also reported that in Clwyd “there were no complaints procedures in any residential establishments between 1974 and 1991″[6] and that “the few residents who complained were discouraged and their complaints generally suppressed”.[7] Waterhouse found that virtually no care regime in England and Wales had viable complaints procedures. As a matter of practice those who complained were moved to regimes far more oppressive than those about which they had complained.
    Waterhouse discovered as a matter of fact that children placed in the care of the state were sexually and physically abused by those employed by the state to care for them. The abuse took many forms; subsequent convictions after criminal trials give a flavour of the offences committed as may be seen in Appendix A.
    “Setting the Boundaries” cogently discusses the issue of statutory time limits for sexual offences against children. This committee is examining the issue of sexual offences against children in the care of the state. Those children would be least well placed to raise the issue or successfully to induce public concern and an investigation.
    Should the Committee, and through the Committee our Government, accept an argument that those in care may be abused by those the state employs to care for them and that the onus for action to rectify the wrongs done should be upon the victim and proscribed by time?

    Is there a risk that the advertisement of prospective awards of compensation in child abuse cases encourages people to come forward with fabricated allegations?
    It is submitted that there has been no known “advertisement” of compensation by the police as suggested in the question.
    Copies of letters sent out by forces during enquiries are attached at Appendix B and a press release from a Social Services Department is also attached at Appendix C.
    There is undoubtedly a risk that the advertisement of prospective awards of compensation in child abuse cases encourages people to come forward with fabricated allegations. To date from all the institutional abuse enquiries there are two known cases of fabricated allegations; both individuals were prosecuted.
    A similar risk exists in the case for insurance frauds of all types; ruined holidays, lost or stolen property, personal injuries, psychological injury at work, benefit frauds and other matters.
    Is the risk of fabricated allegations any greater in cases of child abuse than in other areas? There is no substantive evidence on which the issue could properly be argued either way.
    If someone does fabricate an allegation it may be for several reasons which could include compensation but may be for another reason for example revenge, malice or retribution. No allegation is taken at face value, and all are thoroughly investigated and the account probed to gain all available evidence to corroborate it.
    The policy of all the institutional abuse enquiries is clear; officers will not raise the issue of compensation. Where the apparent victim raises the issue that will be recorded, reported upon and disclosed to the Crown Prosecution Service. The ACPO handbook for Senior Investigating Officers sets out best practice in this area and commends to investigating officers a clear statement of policy in their respective enquiries.
    Protocols drawn up with the CICA are recorded as policy and provided to defence counsel. Copies of the letters, proforma used and other relevant documents are provided to defence counsel. The full list of those who seek CICA compensation is disclosed to the defence.
    It is the case that investigating officers are aware of the full range of motivations for individuals making allegations.
    Undoubtedly there are firms of solicitors actively seeking “victims” through the offer of prospective awards of compensation. In support of their civil claim their “victims” may report their allegation to the police. The police provide information to solicitors acting on behalf of complainants only in accordance with the direction of the civil court judge. Any police enquiry into the allegations made is carried out with no reference to the compensation issue and in compliance with all relevant criminal law.
    Is there a weakness in the current law on “similar fact” evidence?

    It is assumed from context that the question is whether the scope for admitting similar fact evidence is at present too great. That such a question should even be asked is surprising. It was only in June 1996 that the Labour Party attempted to insert an amendment into the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Bill which would have put pressure on judges to order joint trials where one person is accused of a number of sexual offences[8]. The argument invoked (the importance of allowing juries to assess the “complete picture”) applies equally to similar fact evidence (a subject intimately linked to the question of severance). There is no doubt that the law in relation to evidence of previous misconduct (of which similar fact evidence forms a sub-category) needs general reform. However, the thrust of any reform must be towards the greater admissibility of such evidence. To exaggerate further the handicaps imposed on juries by exclusionary rules of evidence would be to ignore entirely the conclusions of Lord Justice Auld.
    Similar fact evidence has the potential to be among the most reliable forms of evidence. This is perhaps best illustrated by the facts of the “brides in the bath case”[9]. The third wife of the defendant, Mr Smith drowned in the bath during their honeymoon. His honeymoons with Mrs Smith one and Mrs Smith two had been curtailed in similar circumstances, his bride drowning in the bath on each occasion. In isolation, the murders might have been difficult to prove; the complete picture, however, constituted an irresistible prosecution case.
    The consequences of any overly restrictive approach to the admission of similar fact evidence can be seen from the case of Michael Maloney[10]. Maloney was subject to five charges of rape based on complaints made by five different women, his defence in each instance being one of consent. The judge ruled that each charge would be heard by separate juries in ignorance of the other four allegations. In the event the five trials resulted in four acquittals and one conviction[11].

    Allegations of sexual offences are notoriously difficult to prove. This is partly because the offences are likely to have taken place in private, partly because, in the context of child victims, it is often many years before complaints reach the authorities. These evidential difficulties combined with the burden and standard of proof relevant to criminal cases result in rates of conviction so low it becomes irrational for victims to risk humiliation before the courts[12]. This situation casts doubt on whether our criminal justice system can be considered to comply with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (“The Right to Respect for Private and Family Life”). The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that:
    Effective deterrence is indispensable in [the area of sexual assaults] and it can be achieved only by criminal law provisions[13].
    A failure to provide effective deterrence against serious abuse is likely to constitute a breach of Article 8. At present the system is widely perceived effectively to deter only victims from pursuing complaints.
    Sexual offences typically fall within a pattern of offending. Dix’s 1976 study of convicted child sex offenders hospitalised for treatment found 85 per cent admitted previous offending although two thirds of the sample were “first time” convicted offenders[14]. Exposure of such a pattern of offending will often provide the only real prospect of proving a case. Conversely a jury may be inclined to speculate that the absence of such a pattern is contra-indicative of guilt. It would surely be perverse to limit the use of similar fact evidence in the very area where it is most needed, most likely to be of benefit.
    The probative value of similar fact evidence is self-evident. With an isolated allegation of sexual abuse (where the defence is, say, consent) the jury must assess the possibility that the allegation is motivated by malice. In the absence of background knowledge of either defendant or the victim there may be little on which to base the assessment. The burden and standard of criminal proof in conjunction with the indisputable fact that malicious allegations of abuse will sometimes be made, often provide the only solid foundations for a jury verdict. Where, however, allegations of a similar nature have been levelled against the same individual from different sources the issues are immediately and dramatically narrowed. It will usually be an affront to common sense to suggest that several allegations of a similar nature have been made against an innocent individual if the allegations are entirely independent of each other. The issue will usually boil down to one of collusion, conspiracy or manipulation of an inquiry.
    The risk of collusion or conspiracy between complaints is often considered to be a reason for excluding similar fact evidence; but it is unclear why this is so. The possibility of malicious collusion between witnesses to a single incident has never been thought to be anything other than a matter for the jury. There is no reason to suppose a jury less capable of evaluating the possibility in the context of similar fact evidence. Further, if the only explanation consistent with a defendant’s innocence is conspiracy between the complainants, the only way for the defendant to raise this possibility, and for the jury to assess it, is by reference to the complaints taken together. Ordering separate trials, or refusing to admit evidence of past, proved similar facts prevents the jury from focusing on the real issues, allowing the case to be hi-jacked by issues an objective observer knows to be demonstrably false.
    Plainly it is critical that investigating authorities do not pressure young, impressionable people into giving false evidence. Plainly it is critical that judges and juries are alert to the possibility of false or dishonest evidence in all cases. There is no reason, however, to deny juries the opportunity to assess for themselves evidence that on its face is highly relevant and probative. To do so might well constitute a breach of Article 8.
    February 2002

    Force Employment Number and Type of Convictions Sentence Sentence Date Initial Plea
    Avon & Somerset Care Worker 38 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    1 Assault ABH on male U.16 Crown Court
    6 years imprisonment 28.11.2001 NG to 26
    G to 13
    Gardener/Housemaster 27 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    3 Buggeries on males U.16
    9 Attempt Buggeries on males U.16 Truro Crown Court
    18 years imprisonment 21.09.2000 NG
    Unemployed 1 Attempt to pervert the Course of Public Justice
    (Claimed to be a victim but never went to the school in question) Exeter Crown Court
    6 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months 25.08.2000 G
    Devon & Cornwall Housemaster 7 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    1 Attempt Indecent Assault on males U.16 Exeter Crown Court
    3 years imprisonment 20.10.2000 G
    Housemaster/Scout Master 18 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    7 Buggeries on males U.16
    1 Attempt Buggery
    (12 of the 26 offences—Op Goldfinch—South Wales) Exeter Crown Court
    15 years imprisonment 08.06.2001 NG
    Teacher 1 Indecent Assault on male U.16
    1 Making and Indecent pseudo image of a child Torbay Magistrates Court
    7 months imprisonment 03.07.2001 G
    Cheshire Teacher 5 Indecent Assaults 3.5 years’ imprisonment 28.03.2001 NG
    Teacher 3 Indecent Assaults 3 years’ imprisonment 13.07.2000 NG
    Staff Member 17 Indecent Assaults 3.5 years’ imprisonment 21.12.1995 G
    Staff Member 6 Indecent Assaults 5.5 years’ imprisonment 21.12.1995 NG
    Durham Care Worker 10 Buggery/Indecent Assaults on male children 9 years’ imprisonment 19.12.2001 —
    Gloucestershire PE Teacher 12 Indecent Assaults Boy U.16 18 months’ sups 2 years — —
    House Parent 4 Indecent Assault on child U.13
    1 Indecent Assault on male U.16
    1 Indecent Assault on male
    1 Indecent Assault on male
    1 Gross Indecency on child U.14
    3 Buggery with a male U.21 without consent Trial “Stayed” as the defendant was deemed to be medically unfit to stand trial 03.05.1999 NG
    Greater Manchester Police Deputy Warden 6 Indecent Assault on male U.13
    8 Indecent Assault on male U.16
    4 Gross Indecency on child U.14
    10 Buggery on child U.16 14 years’ imprisonment 23.03.2001 NG
    Warden 3 Indecent Assault on male U.13
    13 Indecent Assault on male U.16
    1 Buggery on male U.13
    1 Buggery on male U.16
    1 Buggery on male without consent 11 years’ imprisonment 10.12.2001 NG
    **Notice of appeal has been served**
    Residential Social Worker 1 Indecent Assault on male U.13
    2 Indecent Assault on male U.13
    147 Possession of indecent images of children 3 months’ imprisonment
    49 TIC 13.07.2001 G
    Gwent Housemaster/care worker 1 Attempt Buggery
    4 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    1 Indecency with a child Newport Crown Court
    8 years imprisonment 00.02.2000 NG
    Housemaster 3 Buggeries on males U.16
    5 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    1 Gross Indecency Newport Crown Court
    15 years imprisonment 00.02.2000 NG
    Teacher 1 Buggery on male Leeds Crown Court
    5 years imprisonment 00.08.2000 NG
    Humberside Head of residential care 2 Indecent Assaults On court bail
    Lancashire Headmaster 4 Indecent Assaults 3 years’ imprisonment — NG
    Priest 9 Indecent Assaults 2 years’ imprisonment — G
    Priest 5 Indecent Assaults 5 years’ imprisonment — G & NG
    DSS Employee Misuse Computer DH Pervert Course of Justice in child abuse trial Awaiting sentence G
    Lincolnshire Unemployed 9 Indecent Assaults on males O.16
    2 Rapes on a male O.16
    1 Indecent Assault on female 16 years Lincoln Crown Court
    12 years imprisonment 14.09.2000 NG
    Nanny 4 Indecent Assaults on female U.13
    1 At/Rape on female U.13
    2 Indecent Assaults on male U.16 Lincoln Crown Court
    6 years imprisonment 23.10.2000 G
    Northumbria Care Worker 2 Indecent Assaults 2 years’ imprisonment 07.07.2000 NG
    Foster Brother 2 Indecent Assaults
    2 Unlawful Sexual Intercourse 12 months’ imprisonment suspended 2 years 08.05.2000 NG
    Care Worker 6 Indecent Assaults 3 years’ imprisonment 07.07.2000 NG
    Care Worker 4 Indecent Assaults, Buggery 8 years’ imprisonment 16.11.2000 NG
    Care Worker 18 Indecent Assaults, 4 Rapes 6 years’ imprisonment 19.12.2000 NG
    Care Worker 10 Indecent Assaults, 2 Buggery 6 years’ imprisonment 24.08.2001 G
    South Wales Volunteer, John Kane 9 Indecent Assaults on males U.16—9TIC Cardiff Crown Court
    15 years reduced on appeal to 12 years’ imprisonment 13.03.1998 G
    Officer in Charge, Crosland’s 1 SECT, 1 Cruelty Cardiff Crown Court
    9 months suspended 16.07.1999 G
    Residential Social Worker, Crosland’s 2 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    1 Buggery on male U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    3 years 6 months’ imprisonment 10.07.1999 G
    Residential Social Worker, Crosland’s 7 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    3 years 6 months’ imprisonment 16.07.1999 G
    Housefather, Headlands 11 Buggery on males U.16
    4 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    7 years imprisonment 24.09.1999 NG
    Headmaster, Brydon 1 Buggery on male U.16
    1 At/Buggery on males U.16
    18 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    5 Child cruelty
    2 ABH on children Cardiff Crown Court
    total 14 years’ imprisonment reduced to 12 years 3 months
    Appeal against conviction dismissed 22.11.1999 NG
    Housefather, Headlands 8 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Newport Crown Court
    4 years 6 months’ imprisonment 05.04.2000 NG
    Housemaster, Brynydon 10 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    3 Buggery on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    8 years imprisonment 20.12.2000 G
    Housefather, Headlands and John Kane 18 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    2 Buggery on males U.16
    2 Att/Buggery on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    10 years imprisonment 11.05.2001 NG
    Housemaster, Brynydon 8 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    4 Buggery on males U.16 (also Operation Lentisk Devon & Cornwall additional 12 Indecent Assaults on males U.16)
    3 Buggery on males U.16
    1 Att/Buggery on males U.16 Exeter Crown Court
    15 years imprisonment 14.05.2001 NG
    Housefather, Headlands 7 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    7 years imprisonment 26.07.2001 NG
    Housefather, Penhill 3 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    3 Buggery on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    8 years 6 months’ imprisonment 06.12.2001 NG
    Residential Social Worker, Taff Vale 3 Indecent Assaults on males U.16
    1 Indecent Assault on female U.16
    2 Buggery on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    15 years imprisonment
    Appeal against conviction dismissed 26.05.1999 NG
    Staffordshire Residential Social Worker, Taff Vale 3 Buggery on males U.16
    7 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Cardiff Crown Court
    12 years imprisonment 27.05.1999 G
    Surrey Social Worker 16 Rape and Indecent Assault on females U.16 Guildford Crown Court
    12 years imprisonment 29.10.1999 NG
    Care Worker 17 Rape, False Imprisonment and Indecent Assault on males U.16 Central Criminal Court
    7 years imprisonment 23.11.2000 NG
    West Midlands Night-watchman 3 Buggery
    7 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Birmingham Crown Court
    8 years imprisonment 26.10.2001 NG
    Night-watchman 5 Indecent Assaults on males U.16 Birmingham Crown Court
    7 years imprisonment 28.09.2001 NG


    The above-named Operation was set up to investigate allegations concerning Danesford Children’s Home in Congleton.
    The Home closed in 1991.
    The school register shows you as having spent time at the Home.
    Officers from the Operation would like to speak with you regarding your attendance, whether you have or have not any relevant information. The interview will be in strict confidence and at a location suitable to you.
    Please contact the below-named Officer on [telephone number]. This is also an answerphone for messages left after 4 pm.
    Yours sincerely
    Northumbria Police are currently engaged in a major investigation into allegations of abuse, which took place several years ago, in children’s homes in the North East of England. I am informed that you were a resident of a children’s home in our Police area, prior to attaining the age of 18 years.
    We are writing to former residents to give you the opportunity of bringing to our attention, any information you may have concerning yourselves, other residents or staff members.
    We would therefore ask that if you have any information to offer or wish to speak to a Police officer in relation to our enquiry, you complete and return the enclosed pro-forma in the prepaid envelope or contact our incident room on [telephone number]. You can leave a message on our answer machine when the room is closed and we will contact you as soon as possible.
    All replies will be treated in the strictest confidence.
    Yours faithfully,
    Detective Chief Superintendent
    I am the Senior Investigating Officer of the above operation which is currently investigating allegations of child abuse reported to have taken place within a number of residential establishments in the Merseyside area.
    I am aware from records provided to me that in times past you have been a resident at St Georges/Clarence House School situated in the Formby area of Merseyside, whilst in the care of the local authority. I am concerned that there is a possibility that such abuse may have taken place whilst you were in residence there.
    If you have any information or if we can help you with any complaint you may have, please respond by completing and returning the attached slip using the enclosed pre-paid envelope or by contacting a member of my staff using the above telephone number.
    May I take this opportunity of assuring you that any information given or complaint made will be treated in the strictest confidence.
    If you do not wish to communicate with the Police or Social Services at this time, but feel you would like to discuss any events which have taken place, you may wish to use the independent and confidential counselling service offered by Barnardos Counselling 0151 707 1327. If they cannot assist I am sure they can put you in touch with a counselling service which can.
    Please reply by 17 July 2000.
    Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
    Yours faithfully,
    Detective Chief Inspector

    By Richard Spencer, PA News
    Police and social workers investigating allegations of sex abuse at a former children’s home today issued an appeal for 1,250 former residents to contact a special telephone hotline.
    Chris Brabs, director of Calderdale social services, said 250 of the 1,500 people who stayed at Skircoat Lodge, in Halifax, over the last 20 years had so far been contacted.
    Two former employees at the home have been arrested and remanded by Calderdale Magistrates Court on a series of child sex abuse charges.
    The charges followed complaints to a joint police and social services investigation team, code-named Operation Screen, which was set up 12 months ago to look into allegations made by former residents.
    A telephone hotline has now been established to try to encourage former residents to talk about their experience at the home.
    Mr Brabs said former residents could be living anywhere in the country and urged them to get in touch.
    “My heart goes out to those who have had the courage to come forward, and we are providing support and counselling to help them cope with their experiences.”
    Urging other victims to get in touch, he added: “We know many people find it very painful to talk about the past, but they can be reassured that the staff are specially trained and will deal with any approaches sensitively and confidentially.
    “We will leave no stone unturned until we have established what happened at Skircoat Lodge and taken any necessary action.”
    The telephone hotline for former residents has been set up on 01422 365948. It will be open between 4 pm and 8 pm from today to Friday 27 November.

    Force How Many Charged Finalised in Court Pleaded Guilty Pleaded Not Guilty Dismissed by a Judge Not Proceeded with on Health Grounds Not Proceeded with—Abuse of Process Acquitted by a Jury Going to appeal—Criminal Cases Review Commission Awaiting trial inc in column 1
    Avon & Somerset 5 2 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 3
    Cheshire 11 4 1 10 3 0 1 3 0 0
    Devon & Cornwall
    11 9 3 2 2 0 0 2 0 2
    Durham 1 1 N/a N/a 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Dyfed-Powys 0 N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a 0 N/a 0 0
    Gloucestershire 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0
    Greater Manchester
    6 3 1 5 0 1 1 1 0 0
    Gwent 6 6 1 5 0 0 0 3 0 0
    Humberside 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 No 0
    Lancashire 15 12 3 6 6 0 0 1 0 0
    Leicestershire 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Lincolnshire 3 2 1 1 0 (1 Died) 0 0 0 0
    Merseyside 67 63 24 11 10 6 2 9 1 0
    Metropolitan 12 10 2 8 1 0 2 0 0 0
    Norfolk 1 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 0
    Northumbria 29? 26 1 5 7 2 (Died) 3 5 0 1
    North Wales 14 14 2 12 0 0 0 1 2 0
    North Yorkshire
    South Wales 34 15 6 21 0 2 (Died) 2 9 0 6
    South Yorkshire
    Staffordshire 8 4 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 0
    Suffolk 0 0 N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a 0
    Surrey 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
    West Mercia 17 10 8 8 0 2 0 2 No 0
    West Midlands 3 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1
    Total 226 189 55 108 30 17 12 39 3 13

    1 Criminal procedure and Investigations Act 1996, Code of Practice paragraph 3.4.
    2 2 “Setting The Boundaries”-Reforming the law on sex offences. Home Office, July 2000. “Lost In Care”-Report of the Tribunal into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974 (Sept 1999).4 Recommendation 20 (paragraph 3.6.6).5 Chapter 33, paragraph 33.39 (summary document). 6 Chapter 55, paragraph 58(i).7 Chapter 55, paragraph 58(ii). 8 “Trial judges’ readiness to hear cases separately denies juries crucial information about the extent of the allegations made against some serial rapists.” Tessa Jowell M.P., 12 June 1996, 187 H.C., CD115. 9 R v Smith (G.J.), 11 Cr. App. R. 229, CCA 10 Subject of Dispatches “Getting away with Rape” Channel 4, 16 February 1994, referred to by Professor McEwan, CLR [1997], 96. 11 While this case might seem to make a point about severance, the issue was essentially one of “similar fact”: the evidence of the different allegations was ruled not to be cross-admissable on the basis that the allegations were not sufficiently similar to be categorised as “similar fact”. This finding underpinned the order for severance.12 Between 1999 and 2000 nearly 8,500 cases of rape were reported to the police. Out of that number just 634 convictions were secured, that is just 7.5 per cent: When one considers the number of offences that are likely to go unreported the picture is even more bleak. 13 X and Y v Netherlands (1985) 8 EHRR 235. 14 Cited in Emily Henderson’s paper, “Evidence of Previous Misconduct”, submitted as part of the ACPO submissions to Lord Justice Auld.


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