Jillings Report: Abuse 'still not being tackled' at children's homes in Wales, 17 years after report was suppressed

Supressed account finds 'appalling' and 'extensive' history of abuse in North Wales in the 1970s and 80s

Campaigners have warned that the authorities are still failing to tackle the epidemic of child abuse in Britain following the publication of a suppressed report into “bestial” cruelty carried out at children’s homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 80s.

Survivors groups said valuable years had been lost following a decision by the now defunct Clwyd County Council to shelve the 1996 Jillings report which reveals how attempts to expose the scale of the scandal were constrained by police, social services and other agencies.

The two year inquiry uncovered an “appalling” and “extensive” history of child abuse – including buggery, assault, and cruelty - dating back two decades and culminating with a series of paedophile trials centring on the Bryn Estyn children's home in Wrexham.

But its conclusions were suppressed for the past 17 years after fears by insurers that it could open the floodgates to compensation and libel claims.

Although finally made public following Freedom of Information requests by The Independent and others, the 300-page report is heavily redacted to blank out the names of any individuals suspected of wrongdoing.

Peter Saunders of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood said:  “We hear from survivors that there are still perpetrators who are out there. They have been known about for a long time and they are still around.

“Abuse persists because of secrecy, fear, and failure to act or bring the truth out. Unless there is a very good reason, there is no excuse for the redaction of this report. It should be open and out there.”

A statement issued on behalf of six Welsh councils said the report did not name any suspected abuser who was unknown to the police.

Malcolm King, then chair of the council’s social services committee, said it was time for a Royal Commission to examine child abuse in Britain following this and other high profile cases including the Jimmy Savile affair.

“It is the same old, same old. It is the same lawyers and the same sort of everything that wants to suppress the truth.

“All sorts of legal reasons are made up for that but I don’t buy it. If we can’t tell the truth about what happened 30, 40 or 50 years ago then  what hope is there for telling the about today?” he said.

At least 12 young people are believed to have died as a result of the abuse they suffered whilst staying in the children’s homes.

Yet despite 10 previous internal inquiries the abuse continued.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said recent abuse scandals in Oxford and Rochdale showed lessons still needed to be learnt. "While some things have improved - particularly for those in care - there is a depressing realisation that in some areas nothing has moved on,” he said.

A council letter written to the Chief Constable of North Wales Police in 1991 included the names of eight convicted sex offenders and dozens of suspects.

The report said council employees and even serving police officers from the time could have been named as potential perpetrators of assaults by witnesses in 3,755 statements taken as part of what was described as the biggest police investigation into child abuse ever held in the UK.

At least 24 victims were identified. But the panel expressed concern that there was “no mechanism to ensure that independent investigations are conducted of allegations against former and serving police officers and that the police authorities handling of investigations can in some circumstances avoid public scrutiny.”

The authors said they considered abandoning their inquiry after being refused access to files and were obstructed by staff that declined to be interviewed. Documents were disordered, undated and unsigned. North Wales Police refused to hand over 130 boxes of files on the grounds they were sub-judice, it was claimed.

The report led by John Jillings, the former director of social services for Derbyshire, was carried out four years before the judicial inquiry ordered by the Welsh secretary William Hague – following revelations by The Independent - under Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC reached similar conclusions.  

Mr Jillings said staff meted out severe punishments to disturbed youngsters. "The treatment of children was bestial really; they weren't treated like human beings, by some members of staff at any rate,” he said.

Demands to finally publish the original inquiry findings were made at the height of the row over the BBC Newsnight report which made false child abuse allegations against former Tory Treasurer Lord McAlpine.

A new police inquiry is underway after 140 people came forward alleging historic abuse as a result of publicity surrounding the case.

The report said it was unable to cast light on the enduring suggestion that well known public figures were part of a wider paedophile ring operating in North Wales.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border