Pressure builds for historical child abuse probe

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Pressure is building for a full investigation into historical claims of abuse in children’s homes in Nottinghamshire - after it emerged that institutions in Mansfield and Ashfield have been named in the scandal.

Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale and Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero have both called for action after it emerged that Mansfield’s former Laybrook care home and Ashfield’s Skegby Hall are both implicated in the scandal.

Former Skegby Hall Care Home

Former Skegby Hall Care Home

Police are not currently investigating allegations about either home, but council chiefs have confirmed that compensation claims have been made by former Laybrook and Skegby Hall residents.

The news comes following claims from Hollywood actress Samantha Morton that she was abused during her time at the Red Tiles home, in Bulwell, as a teenager. She said that although she reported the abuse to authorities, the incidents were never investigated.

Former Forest Town resident Mickey Summers is also accusing police and council chiefs of a cover-up - claiming that records have been deliberately destroyed, and that police failed to properly investigate his claims.

Sir Alan and Ms De Piero have now both backed calls for a national child abuse investigation unit - first mooted by Bulwell MP Graham Allen in the 1990s.

MP Gloria De Piero

MP Gloria De Piero

“I would not only back Graham Allen’s call for a national child abuse investigation unit but would also call for a full investigation into the allegations made about historical child abuse in Nottinghamshire children’s homes,” Sir Alan told Chad.

“Wherever there are allegations of this nature then they should be formally investigated. Any Mansfield constituent who believes in any way that they have been the victim of child abuse while in care should get in touch so I can take on their case.”

Sir Alan said that over the years he had been contacted by more than 50 local people regarding historical child abuse allegations.

Ashfield MP Gloria added: “When it comes to historic allegations, there needs to be a properly structured inquiry that draws together investigations into institutions throughout the country.

Alan Meale MP  Who has been awarded a knighthood

Alan Meale MP Who has been awarded a knighthood

“Although legislation has moved forward and great strides have been made in child protection, we all know that much more needs to be done. We must make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and better protected from these horrible crimes.”

Nottinghamshire Police is currently carrying out its own investigation - named Operation Daybreak - which has seen around 80 people come forward with allegations of child abuse at homes in the county between the late 1960s and 2000.

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has also called for an independent review to be carried out ‘as soon as practically possible’.

The constabulary said it was actively investigating five homes - all in Nottingham - with another four facing no further action.

Officers have confirmed that a total of 10 men had been arrested with seven released with no further action; two on bail and still being investigated on suspicion of rape and that one man had since died during its investigation over rape allegations.

A spokesman said: “Under Operation Daybreak we have been investigating sexual abuse claims made by around 80 people. These cases span a number of decades and relate to people who have worked at the following children’s homes: Beechwood, Bracken House, Hazelwood, Sycamore House and Wollaton House.”

Compensation claims have been received in relation to 13 centres - including Skegby Hall, Laybrook, in the Park, Mansfield, and Bracken House and Red Tiles - both in Bulwell.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s service director for children’s social care, Steve Edwards said: “The city and county councils have settled 26 civil claims with alleged victims relating to historic physical abuse at children’s residential care homes across Nottinghamshire, without any admission of liability. A number of other claims are ongoing.

“We welcome the Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping’s call for an independent review of historic abuse at these children’s homes between the 1960s to the late 1990s. This was a joint decision reached between the chief executives at the county and city councils, the PCC and the Chief Constable. The independent review will commence once the active police investigation is complete.

“We believe independent safeguarding boards are best placed to lead this review and we will ask the boards to scope out the parameters of the review and commission it on our behalf.

“It’s paramount we are transparent and can reassure the public that any claims of this nature are taken seriously and fully investigated.

“We would urge people who have suffered abuse to come forward and make contact with the police. We would like to reassure any victim that they will be listened to and that we will co-operate with any Nottinghamshire Police investigation that results.”

PICTURED: A child actor portraying the victim of child abuse, Skegby Hall, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero and Sir Alan Meale.

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