Letter: Nothing will change for thousands of victims of child abuse

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Sir: John Major ("Why we must root out the abusers", 14 June) shows his concern and horror at the extent of child abuse - physical, sexual and mental - that has occurred in some residential homes for children and young people. The Government's decision to launch an inquiry is welcome.

I wish to plead for another vulnerable group to be included in the scope of the inquiry. These are people with mental handicaps or learning disabilities, many of whom are now living in small houses and hostels in the community, where staff may be ill-trained, with inadequate skills for dealing with mentally handicapped people, and where discerning supervision may be intermittent. Parental fears, when they are expressed, are too readily dismissed.

There are estimated to be more than 800 new cases of sexual abuse of adults with a mental handicap or learning disabilities annually. Every local authority must have about seven new cases reported every year. Many others will remain undetected.


Dorking, Surrey