Letter: Battle against abuse

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The Independent Culture
Battle against abuse

Sir: Roger Dobson has done us all a service by compiling an up-to-date list of inquires into past abuse in children's homes ("The catalogue of child abuse that puts Britain to shame," 25 June). It is a record for which none of my colleagues feels anything but regret and shame.

But despite the shocking picture which emerges, the vast majority of children cared for by local authorities and voluntary organisations during the 1970s and 1980s were cared for properly and carefully by committed staff, and will have matured in to well-balanced adulthood despite the fearful stigma that has been - and threatens to continue to be - attached to them.

Mr Dobson fails to mention that most of the current inquires are being conducted with the full support and active co-operation of social services departments, and that they indeed will have instigated many of them.

Directors of social services are doing everything possible to implement Department of Health guidelines and the recommendations of significant reports by authors such as Norman Warner and Sir William Utting, while contributing to and preparing for further major strategic developments that have already been trailed.

We might never achieve the exacting standards set by the legal profession, and so elegantly articulated by Allan Levy QC. But nobody should doubt the concern and determination with which we are setting about protecting the children in our care from abuse. Nor should they doubt the persistence with which we have urged successive governments to introduce a General Social Care Council - a persistence which we hope will bear fruit in the coming months.

ROY TAYLOR

President

Association of Directors of Social Services

Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey

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