Social work guru on abuse charge

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The Independent Online
David Divine, who was one of the leading figures in social work in Britain for more than a decade, has been arrested and charged by police investigating allegations of abuse at a children's home

Mr Divine, aged 43, is one of three people arrested following allegations of physical abuse at a children's home in Edinburgh 20 years ago.

Mr Divine was one of the youngest heads of social services in the UK when he was appointed director of social services in the north-west London borough of Brent. He subsequently became the assistant director of the Central Council for the Education and Training of Social Workers which sets standards for social workers.

He has also advised Government committees on social work. He worked in Tower Hamlets and Hackney, east London, and made frequent appearances on TV in the late Seventies and Eighties. He was social services director in Brent at a time when same-race adoption became a prominent issue, particularly in London.

He was charged by police following a lengthy investigation. The charges relate to alleged physical abuse at one of his first jobs in social services and relate to allegations of abuse at the Edinburgh children's home where, it is understood, he worked for 18 months before moving to London.

Detectives had already arrested two other men in connections with allegations of physical abuse. Police confirmed yesterday that a third person had been arrested but declined to identify him.

Mr Divine, who now works as an independent consultant and whose home is in Walthamstow, north-east London, was not available for comment yesterday.

The arrests by police in Edinburgh followed a police investigation into allegations of abuse at the home. It is understood that more than 200 former residents of the home have been seen by a special team of 20 detectives set up to probe the allegations.

Detectives have been working for some months on the investigation and Mr Divine was charged earlier this week.