The Jillings Report: Abuse in care homes confirmed

by Farleys Solicitors on July 10, 2013

Abuse in North Wales care homes has hit the headlines again this week after the release of The Jillings Report. The report, which investigated the physical and sexual abuse that was taking place in over forty care homes in the north Wales area, was only published at the beginning of July, despite having been written seventeen years ago. It has emerged that the report had been suppressed for fear of compensation claims and subsequent litigation.

The report itself looked at the allegations that had been made in care homes in the former Clwyd County Council area over a period of twenty years from the 1970s. The report has concluded that there was “extensive abuse” over a “substantial” number of years. The authors stated that the abuse had seriously affected the young people involved, and that at least 12 young people had died.

The authors of the report encountered numerous difficulties as they attempted to formulate their findings. The disclosure from the council was in the wrong order, and generally incomplete. The council were not always compliant, and there were delays in awaiting responses. In addition, certain council staff refused to be interviewed by the authors. As a result there are some unanswered questions relating to the abuse, in particular, whether any public figures were involved.

Another area of difficulty the authors encountered was from the police, with some information being retained by the relevant force for ‘legal reasons’. 130 boxes of files were declared by the police to be under judgment and the panel were not provided with them. The report also suggests that there was no mechanism for investigating allegations made against police officers who were implicated in the abuse.

The report found that investigations into child abuse were not started quickly enough. In fact the needs of young people were seen to be “incidental rather than a primary concern”. In a sense, the authors of the report found that professional standing was protected, whilst the interests of the children where “sacrificed”.

The authors of the report were able to discuss the abuse with some former residents of the homes, who hoped that if they aired their experiences, then hopefully the situation would improve for other young people within the care system.

Unfortunately, however, as was the fate with a similar investigating abuse within another children’s home in Broughton in 1992, the report failed to be published. The reasons given in the Broughton case were that the report could prejudice a trial or that the council’s insurance could have been invalidated.

In both instances, however, and particularly in relation to the Jillings report which recommended a judicial enquiry into the abuse, failure to release the reports at the time may have led to the prolonged exposure of the victims to the abuse.

Farleys have a team of solicitors who specialise in abuse compensation claims and can help the victims of abuse to pursue compensation where the council or other agencies have been negligent. If you feel you may have a claim for abuse, please do not hesitate to contact us for free legal advice. All conversations are without obligation and are treated in the strictest of confidence.

By Jonathan Bridge, Abuse Claim Lawyer at Farleys Solicitors LLP

About the Author

Jonathan Bridge is one of the UK’s leading solicitors in the area of child abuse  claims. Farleys Solicitors is a full practice firm of solicitors with offices across Manchester and Lancashire.

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