London City Council Exposing Children to Sexual Abuse: Report


A London council treated vulnerable children in its care as “worthless” and exposed hundreds of them to sex offenders, a year-long investigation into one of the UK’s worst child abuse scandals found Tuesday.

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A London council treated vulnerable children in its care as “worthless” and exposed hundreds of them to sex offenders, a year-long investigation into one of the UK’s worst child abuse scandals found Tuesday.

Children living in dormitories and foster homes in Lambeth, south London, were red, assaulted and abused by staff who felt “untouchable” due to a “culture of cover-up”, the report said.

The investigation was conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which was set up in 2015 after a series of high profile sex abuse scandals, the most prominent of which involved the late BBC DJ and TV host Jimmy Savile.

It focuses on cases where organizations and institutions have failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

‘callous disregard’

The Lambeth Council investigation looked at abuse in five children’s housing units over several decades since the 1960s.

It stated that staff “treated children in care as if they were worthless” and displayed “a callous disregard” for them, while those who complained of abuse were not believed.

The council only disciplined one senior staff member after 705 complaints from former residents of children’s homes and foster families, the report said.

“It’s the only report I’ve had to file periodically on because what it describes is just adamant,” said John O’Brien, secretary of the investigation.

A child homeworker continued to be employed after his previous conviction of child sexual abuse was exposed in the 1970s, the report said. He was later found guilty of child sexual abuse in 34 cases.

The report warned that the true number of victims would be much higher than officially recorded and recommended that police consider a criminal investigation into the death of a boy in a nursing home in 1977.

In the 1980s, children became “toys in a toxic power game” when the local government was embroiled in the war against the conservative central government of Margaret Thatcher, she added.

The Lambeth Council has recorded and accepted the results of the report, which comes after several other investigations into historical sexual abuse, institutional failures and cover-ups in the UK.

IICSA will present its final report next summer with the results of more than a dozen questions to the MPs.

Football has also been implicated in abuse, with former Manchester City coach and scout Barry Bennell serving a 34-year prison sentence for abuse dating from the 1970s.

The investigators are also on the wrong foot. In the most notorious case, Carl Beech called high-ranking politicians and security personnel to red and berated him in the 1970s and 1980s, prompting police to open an investigation.

But he was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2019 for twisting the course of justice, fraud, and possession of indecent pictures after his lies were exposed.

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