Councils in Nottinghamshire have apologised for letting survivors of child sexual abuse ‘down in the worst possible way’ after an inquiry found that hundreds of children were abused in council care over a 30 year period.
The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse published its report yesterday into allegations of sexual abuse of children while in the care of Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.
The report found some 350 individuals reported being sexually abused whilst in care from the 1960s onwards, although it warned that the true number is likely to be ‘considerably higher’.
It said that sexual abuse of children – including repeated rapes, sexual assaults and physical abuse – was ‘widespread’ in both residential and foster care in the county during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
From the late 1970s to 2019, 16 residential staff were convicted of sexual abuse of children in residential care, 10 foster carers were convicted of sexual abuse of their foster children and there were 12 further convictions relating to the harmful sexual behaviour of children against other children in care.
The inquiry concluded that the abuse was compounded by ‘poor decision-making’ in cases where disclosure had been made. It also discovered that some known perpetrators were permitted to remain as foster carers and went on to abuse again.
‘For decades, children who were in the care of the Nottinghamshire Councils suffered appalling sexual and physical abuse, inflicted by those who should have nurtured and protected them,’ said Professor Alexis Jay, chair of the inquiry.
‘Those responsible for overseeing the care of children failed to question the extent of sexual abuse or what action was being taken. Despite decades of evidence and many reviews showing what needed to change, neither of the councils learnt from their mistakes, meaning that more children suffered unnecessarily.’
Responding to the publication of the inquiry, Nottingham City Council leader, Cllr David Mellen, and chief executive Ian Currier said that they accepted its findings and recommendations and would take appropriate action.
‘This Inquiry has heard about decades of shocking abuse in council-run care homes in the 1970s, 80s and 90s,’ they said.
‘Since taking over responsibility for children’s care in 1998, we accept that Nottingham City Council let survivors down in the worst possible way, and for that and the ongoing impact that has had on your lives, we are truly sorry.
‘We accept that the council made mistakes and should have done more to protect children from harm while they were in our care.’
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