Newsnight Interview on the North Wales 'Lost in Care' Inquiry
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Part of that inquiry dealt with allegations that a paedophile ring involving certain prominent persons had abused children from the North Wales care homes. In that interview I expressed the concern that these allegations had already been examined by the "Lost in Care" inquiry and that a further enquiry may not take things any further.
I have the greatest sympathy for those people, who were so badly let down by the care system. There is no doubt that when these allegations were first made, they were not investigated, not listened to and the whole matter was brushed under the carpet. However, it was not my impression, having read the "Lost in Care" inquiry that it was simply a whitewash, or that the police had in some way failed to investigate allegations of abuse properly. It had also been suggested that the Inquiry's terms of reference were limited, and that this had prevented victims from telling their stories or from having the authorities investigate their allegations. However the report does examine the allegations that children were taken out care homes and abused by gangs of paedophiles.
The conclusions of Sir Ronald Waterhouse and his team can be found in Chapter 52 of the inquiry entitled "Was there a Paedophile Ring?"
This was what was said at paragraph 52.88:-
"To the extent that we have indicated we accept that there was an active paedophile ring operating in the Chester and Wrexham areas for much of period under review. The evidence does not establish, however, that there was a conspiracy to recruit paedophiles to children's residential establishments or to infiltrate them in some other way."
In my experience of investigating cases of abuse over the last 15 years, there is no doubt that paedophiles conspire together to abuse children and it is also true that the authorities are often not thorough enough in their investigations. In fact, my clients' compensation claims are often based on those same failures.
Child protection is an immensely complicated area of public administration and the stakes are always extremely high whenever failures occur. We should never lose sight of the pain felt by victims of abuse.
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