Council leader: “We will not shy away from historical sex abuse allegations”

Coun Alan Rhodes

Coun Alan Rhodes

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A council leader says he welcomes the independent investigation into abuse at children’s homes, saying: “We will not shy away from these allegations.”

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Alan Rhodes has spoken just hours before details of the landmark inquiry - led by judge Lowell Goddard - are released.

The inquiry is likely to focus on Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council, who ran children’s homes in dating back to the 1950s.

Hundreds of former residents have stepped forward in recent years to say they were abused by staff.

Coun Rhodes said: “Firstly, I welcome and support the national inquiry that will investigate whether public bodies have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

“Any failings of any organisation or institution deserves to be identified and dealt with appropriately.

“If there has been organisational or institutional failings, then there needs to be accountability.

“And, importantly, I am prepared to make an unreserved apology to survivors if our council is found to have failed in our duty of care to children.

“Currently, there are a significant number of actions, both criminal and civil, that are under way.”

“Children’s homes should always have been places of safety, so harm in them of any kind is an appalling abuse of duty and trust.

“Anyone who was abused as a child absolutely deserves our sympathy and support. From the outset, we have taken these allegations seriously, and devoted a great deal of time and effort to look into them, support survivors and the police investigations.

“The safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our care must be, and is, of the highest priority.

“It is important to make clear that the landscape of the past bears no resemblance to that of the present.

“My pledge to all survivors is that we will continue to do everything we can to support them and expose any wrong-doing in the past.

“We will not shy away from these allegations of historical abuse.”

Meanwhile, a formal statement from Lowell Goddard, the chairman of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is expected to make a formal statement tomorrow, Friday, November 27, outlining the first phase of the probe.