Police launch abuse inquiry

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The Independent Online
A third Welsh police force has launched an investigation into claims of abuse at children's homes. Gwent Police yesterday set up a special squad to examine fresh allegations and has appealed for anyone who was abused at homes in the county in the Seventies and Eighties to come forward.

The investigation comes three days after the extension of a major inquiry by neighbouring South Wales Police which is now looking into 250 allegations of physical and sexual abuse covering 33 residential homes.

With the investigation carried out by North Wales Police, the Gwent operation takes the number of children's homes in Wales that have or are being investigated for abuse to 101 - almost three times as many as the number of homes left in the Principality.

And the number of allegations of abuse made by children in care who lived at residential homes in Wales, mainly in the Seventies and Eighties, is now approaching 900.

The Gwent allegations were originally received by South Wales Police where 42 detectives have been running Operation Goldfinch. Eleven former residents have so far made complaints.

Detective Superintendent Ian Johnstone, of Gwent Police, said yesterday: "I am eager to address these matters as priorities and we will speaking to the people concerned as soon as possible. For the victims the whole issue of abuse is both sensitive and painful and, with this in mind, we would like to hear from anyone who was living in a children's home in Gwent in the late Seventies and Eighties who suffered abuse."

Gwent Police helpline is 01633 838111. South Wales Police is 01656 869484