News and Blog

 

Read through my latest blog posts and feel free to comment on them if you like.

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Ghostly appearances

Posted on 14th February, 2015

Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphanage

 

A ghost has been reported in the building that once was Liverpool’s Seaman’s Orphan Institution and this has been covered in the local and national media this week. What is really interesting, however, is the photos of the building that have been included in the articles.

The Liverpool Echo article
The Mirror article

 

Our page on the Seamen’s Orphanage

Bryn Alyn Community homes trial, Wrexham

Posted on 26th November, 2014

The BBC has reported that the trial of John Allen is underway about charges of abuse of young people at the homes he ran in Wrexham. According to the report, he has already been found guilty of 26 charges but the trial still goes in relation to a number of others.  

 

The full BBC report is here.

Redtile Children's Home

Posted on 13th September, 2014

Samantha Morton tells of abuse at children's home

 

The actor, Samantha Morton, has spoken to the Guardian about abuse she experienced at Redtile Children's Home in Nottingham in the 1980s and an unhappy time at Wollaton House. She says that the Rotherham cases has brought it all back for her.

 

The article can be found here.

 

If, like Samantha, the Rotherham case, or Smanatha's own story has awakened painful memories for you, please see our list of support sources here.

Access to records promise

Posted on 23rd June, 2014

The Government has made a commitment to review the rules on care leavers’ access to their social care files and family details.

 

This move has come as a result of a campaign by the Access to Records Campaign Group and will hopefully mean that the current inconsistent and often inadequate approach to enabling people to access thir own care records will be greatly improved.

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Guidelines have now been published. Please see our page on this.

 

Apologies for Cosham Cottage Homes victims

Posted on 23rd June, 2014

After a long fight, 19 people who incredibly bravely came forward to say that they had been abused at Cosham Cottage Homes, Portsmouth in the 1950s have received an apology from Portsmouth City Council.

 

Len Cummings, who wrote about his experiences in 'Forgotten' spearheaded the campaign, is reported as saying of the apology "It makes me feel good that finally, the right thing has been done by good, honourable people".

 

The apology in full: 

Dear Mr Cummings,

 

I write this personal letter as a sign of respect and concern for you as a child who was in the care of Portsmouth City Council.

 

I have reviewed the documentation that was provided to you under the Data Protection Act from the council’s records, which evidenced the sexual and other abuse which you suffered during your time in the care of this authority in the 1950s.

 

Whilst only those directly involved will know the details of what happened, I accept that you feel that you were maltreated as a child when in the care of the city council.

 

I am writing to you in my capacity as leader of Portsmouth City Council to apologise for the care that you received. Every child has the right to feel protected when growing up and you feel the city council failed you and others, and for this I apologise on behalf of this authority.

 

I was dismayed to find out that an apology letter had been drafted a few years ago but for whatever reason, the previous leader chose not to send it.

 

I know that an official apology is important to you, which is why I have made this one of my first priorities since becoming leader, and it was clear that there was no legal impediment in my doing so.

 

I only wish an apology was made sooner before one of your brothers and your sister, who were also looked-after children, passed away. I want to reassure you I am committed to making sure no child is failed by this authority. I hope that this apology brings you comfort and some sense of closure.

 

Yours sincerely

Councillor Donna Jones

Leader of the city council

 

See also: article in The News reporting the apology [external website]And our own book detailing the history of Cosham Cottage Homes and the campaign by the victims of abuse:

 

Knowl View abuse report

Posted on 3rd June, 2014
The BBC are today reporting that a health professional who reported widespread child abuse in 1991 at a school for vulnerable boys has told the BBC he believes his report was "suppressed". The report apparently alleges that boys as young as eight were working as prostitutes.
 
Knowl View is one of the residential institutes being investigated following allegations against the MP Cyril Smith.
 
More details can be found on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27687351

The Cyril Smith arguments go on

Posted on 26th April, 2014

 

The arguments about which politicians knew about Cyril Smith alleged abuse of boys at two children's homes - Knowl View and Cambridge House are continuing according to a BBC news report [external website].

 

It is hard not to be infuriated at what could be viewed as political point-scoring.

 

Surely what should be the priority in any cases of alleged historic abuse a review of the evidence, and immediately offering the victims an acknowledgement and apology for what happened, sources of genuine support should they want them, and then access to making claims for compensation should that be the route the victims want to go down. Then we should be looking at how we can prevent such abuse happening again. Any time for political mud-slinging should be a lot further down the line.

 

UPDATE:

 

Today, 28th April 2014, police have asked that any other victims of abuse at Knowl View come forward. BBC news report

Cyril Smith abuse allegations

Posted on 15th April, 2014

Cyril Smith

 

The Daily Mail is currently serialising a book (Smile For The Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker) about the abuse allegations against Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP. In the latest extract, abuse at Knowl View - a residential school in Rochdale for children with learning disabilties - is discussed and victims tell their stories.

 

Knowl View opened in 1969 and was closed in 1994 when it was demolished.

 

In a story echoing that of Jimmy Savile, it was only after Cyril Smith died in 2010, that abuse allegations (relating back to events in the 1960s) were investigated. Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service both found that Cyril Smith should have been charged with these crimes. One of the places in which these crimes were said to have been commited according to the BBC was a children's home in Rochdale called Cambridge House - a privately-run hostel.

 

The allegations against Cyril Smith are undoubtedly horrific and it must be devasting for the victims that Cyril Smith was not brought to justice before he died despite three investigations.

 

I have chosen not to use Smith's 'sir' title here.

Pope apology for child abuse

Posted on 11th April, 2014

Pope Francis has today apologised for the "evil" damage to children caused by sexual abusers in the clergy. It is a strong statement - but do we feel it is enough? Is enough being done in this country to investigate whether children were abused by the clergy and in Catholic children's institutions? And to support those who have, or would like to, make claims about historic abuse? 

 

BBC news report on the apology

Jimmy Savile and children's homes

Posted on 27th March, 2014

The BBC has today reported that the Government (throught a statement by Michael Gove, Education Secretary) says local authorities must investigate allegations of abuse by Jimmy Savile in 21 children's homes and schools.

 

"The Department for Education said the allegations, spanning the 60s, 70s and 80s, concerned institutions in Leeds, London, Manchester, Nottinghamshire, Kent, Surrey and Devon."

 

UPDATE: I have now put a page on this site with the information.