Wales inquiry chairman to name abusers

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE CHAIRMAN of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal has insisted that abusers will be named in his final report if he feels it necessary to do so.

For the duration of the tribunal hearings, which end this week, there has been a ban on using the names of alleged and unconvicted abusers referred to by witnesses.

Lawyers representing former care workers had asked the chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, for an undertaking that he won't name names in his report, but he says that names will be given where appropriate and has refused to give an undertaking.

Tomorrow, the closing speech of the tribunal's senior counsel, Gerard Elias, QC, is due to end the formal hearing of what has become Britain's longest-running judicial tribunal. Its first hearings were in January last year and it has now sat on 200 days taking evidence.

More than 250 people have given evidence to the tribunal and another 200 witnesses have given written evidence. Around 150 alleged victims of abuse are among those who have given evidence, and more than 100 former carer workers and managers have been legally represented.

The tribunal has heard from those against who complaints have been made, as well as social services managers, care staff, foster carers, North Wales Police, the Welsh Office, and the insurers of local councils.

Sir Ronald hopes to complete the tribunal's report, complete with recommendations, during the summer for handing over to the Secretary of State for Wales before the end of the parliamentary recess.

The report will examine the abuse of children in care in Clwyd and Gwynedd since 1974 and look at whether it could have been prevented or detected at an earlier stage. It will also consider how agencies, including the Welsh Office, police and local councils, responded to the allegations and complaints of abuse.

The report will look not only at whether the agencies discharged their duties correctly at the time, but will also comment on their current level of performance.