Britain's most vulnerable children assaulted and sexually abused while shunted around care homes


Some of Britain’s most damaged and vulnerable children have been assaulted and sexually abused while being shunted around a series of care homes far from home, according to a damning report out today.

Child victims of abuse have been subjected to further attacks after being moved into the care system because of a lack of basic checks into their backgrounds and of potential abusers, according to the report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP).

The report looked into the treatment of up to 3,000 child offenders in care who have been moved far from home and discovered that many were being locked into a lifetime of crime and mental health problems because of their treatment.

In an examination of 60 cases in six areas across the country, inspectors learned of cases including:

* A 15-year-old boy found having sex in his room with a 13-year-old girl, who had been taken into care owing to sexual exploitation. Sexual videos of her were found on his phone.

* A Welsh boy, removed from his parents because of their heroin addiction, went missing 37 times in four months after being moved to England far from his mother.

* One 16-year-old boy was moved 31 times after being taken into care at the age of three, including one placement that lasted less than 24 hours.

Chief inspector of probation Liz Calderbank said that she was shocked by the findings and said that shipping children more than 50 miles from home made offending inevitable in some cases. “The system is failing in terms of how it trying to look after them,” she said.

Ten local authorities had no children’s homes in their areas. In part because of financial pressures, a third of children were placed more than 100 miles away from home and nearly two-thirds were placed 50 miles away, HMIP found. Regulations require local authorities to allow the child to live near their home, as far as reasonably practicable, the report said.

One 16-year-old told inspectors: “No one truly cares about me. They get paid to care but they don’t really. If they did they would stop moving me about and understand me instead of talking about what my needs are.”

A fifth of the children had themselves been a victim of crime while under supervision of Youth Offending Teams and just over half the children inspected had offended within the care system.

“These children and young people are, in many cases, picked up in later life by either the

criminal justice system or mental health services,” the report found. “It is clear from this inspection, that for many, their backgrounds and experiences in care meant that they were ill-equipped to lead happy, law-abiding and productive lives as adults in the future.”

It said that the Department for Education should tighten regulations surrounding children placed outside their local authority areas and demanded better inspections.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “It is completely unacceptable that some local authorities and homes are letting down children by failing to act as a proper 'parent'.

”It is essential that local authorities responsible for them provide the vital support they need to keep them safe and well and to encourage their potential.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas