Hague told to hold full inquiry

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, was yesterday pressed to hold a full judicial inquiry into widespread child abuse in North Wales which would investigate a number of issues, including allegations of the involvement of former and serving policemen.

The inquiry would also look at the idea of a Children's Ombudsman to listen to young people in care who have complaints of abuse to tackle the problem of such children being reluctant to complain because of fears they will not be believed.

Ways of identifying paedophiles working in social work training would also be part of the brief, according to a six-point proposal put to Mr Hague by Labour MPs yesterday.

After yesterday's meeting, Labour's health spokesman on Wales, Rhodri Morgan, said, "The Welsh Secretary gave us an absolute undertaking that there would be no cover-up."

The Welsh Office is also understood to be taking up with other departments the issues surrounding the influence that insurers have on the way child abuse investigations are carried out. There have been complaints that insurers put pressure on councils not to publish because of the potential ammunition it provided for would-be litigants.

The delegation also called for the confidential report of an inquiry team into abuse in Clwyd to be made public and told the Secretary of State that there was an overwhelming call for a judicial inquiry from almost everyone involved.

The delegation said that a public inquiry should consider:

Barring residential care workers from working in homes when there are doubts about their activities;

The problem of any paedophiles working in social work training centres who then help like-minded individuals to get jobs;

A children's commissioner or ombudsman to listen to children's complaints;

Better communications between social service departments to make sure that people who leave one job in disgrace, but are not prosecuted, cannot get new jobs in homes;

Possible protection of paedophiles from prosecution by a network of sympathisers in positions of responsibility.

Mr Morgan said: "A judicial inquiry could look at whether there was a ring extending into the police which led to the delay in the prosecution or investigation."

The 300-page report, by John Jillings former director of social services in Derbyshire, Professor Jane Tunstill, professor of social work at Keele University, and child care specialist, Gerrilyn Smith, has more than 50 recommendations, but its chief one is that their must be an inquiry.