Archive | July 2019

IICSA finds that Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City Council failed children who were sexually abused while in their care

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IICSA finds that Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City Council failed children who were sexually abused while in their care

by BLM

IICSA today published its most recent report on children in the care of the Nottinghamshire councils. It does not make easy reading for the councils involved.

This investigation examined institutional responses to allegations of sexual abuse of children in the care of Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, and other organisations such as Nottinghamshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, and to consider the appropriateness of steps taken to protect these children from abuse.

In the course of this investigation IICSA received evidence from about 350 complainants who made allegations of sexual abuse whilst in the care of the Councils from the 1960s onwards. This is the largest number of allegations of sexual abuse in a single investigation that IICSA has investigated to date.

IICSA found that the councils had failed in their statutory duty to protect children in their care from sexual abuse and had in fact exposed them to the risk, and reality, of sexual abuse perpetrated by residential staff and foster carers to whom their care had been entrusted by the councils.

Whilst both councils had safeguards and child protection policies in place, staff often failed to understand what was required of them in order to protect the children under their care and the councils took no action against those members of staff who did not comply. IICSA found that in the residential setting the evidence was that the situation was further exacerbated by poor recruitment practices, few qualified staff, little in-service training, overcrowding and low staffing ratios.

IICSA issued a stern reminder to all who are responsible for the care of children that regardless of the limitations that any organisation/institution operates under staff must always remember that the sexual abuse of children is a criminal offence.

IICSA noted that both councils had commissioned a number of reviews which identified the changes that needed to be made to stop the sexual abuse of the children in their care but had not learned from their mistakes..

Over three decades (i.e. from the 1970’s to the 1990’s) children in residential and foster care with the Councils were exposed to physical abuse, violence and sexual abuse which included rapes, sexual assaults, and voyeurism. Sexual activities also took place between children in care.

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 IICSA said it was aware of 12 convictions relating to the harmful sexual behaviour of children against other children in care.

IICSA concluded that neither of the Councils had a satisfactory approach to addressing the issue of harmful sexual behaviour of children in care and more importantly it noted that while there is currently a greater understanding of this issue, there is no national strategy or framework for the prevention of, or response to, harmful sexual behaviour between children in care.

The Police only commenced investigations into allegations of non-recent abuse of children in residential care in 2011 and IICSA pointed out that these investigations were under resourced, did not treat allegations seriously enough and time was lost. IICSA noted that efforts were now being made by Nottinghamshire Police to address these issues.

The councils took different approaches to apologising. Nottinghamshire Council had made public apology while Nottingham City Council had been slow to apologise. There are ongoing issues in the provision and consistency of support and counselling for those who have suffered sexual abuse in care.

The following recommendations were made:

  • “Nottingham City Council should assess the potential risks posed by current and former foster carers directly provided by the council in relation to the sexual abuse of children. They should also ensure that current and former foster carers provided by external agencies are assessed by those agencies. Any concerns which arise should be referred to the appropriate body or process, including the Disclosure and Barring Service, the local authority designated officer (LADO) or equivalent, the fostering panel and the police. 
  • Nottinghamshire County Council should assess the potential risks posed by current and former residential care staff and foster carers, which are directly provided by the council, in relation to the sexual abuse of children. They should also ensure that current and former staff in residential care provided by external agencies, and current and former foster carers provided by external agencies, are assessed by those agencies. Any concerns which arise should be referred to the appropriate body or process, including the Disclosure and Barring Service, the relevant regulatory body, the local authority designated officer (LADO), the fostering panel and the police. 
  • Nottingham City Council and its child protection partners should commission an independent, external evaluation of their practice concerning harmful sexual behaviour, including responses, prevention, assessment, intervention and workforce development. An action plan should be set up to ensure that any recommendations are responded to in a timely manner and progress should be reported to City’s Safeguarding Children Partnership.”

This report is a particularly damning report for the two councils involved however, the report is essential reading for other local authorities so that they can now consider the issues identified in the course of this investigation and take the necessary steps to get their own house is order.

news_21734JDWritten by Sharon Moohan at BLM


Children in care in Nottingham ‘abused by predators’

BBC documentary
Image captionChildren at Beechwood – seen here in a 1981 BBC documentary – said violence was a regular part of life

Hundreds of children were sexually abused by predatory foster carers and residential home staff who were allowed to thrive, an inquiry has found.

Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils exposed vulnerable children to repeated rapes and physical abuse, a report said.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said sexualised behaviour by staff was “tolerated or overlooked”.

It said it had received about 350 complaints dating back to the 1960s.

In its report, it said this was the biggest number of allegations of child sexual abuse for any of its investigations so far and added the “true scale is likely to be higher”.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said the abuse was widespread “for more than five decades” and repeated failures to learn from mistakes exposed more young people to harm.

It also criticised staff at Beechwood Community Home in Mapperley, saying they were “threatening and violent”, with sexualised behaviour towards children “tolerated or overlooked, allowing abusers to thrive”.

Beechwood Community Home Mapperley IICSAImage copyrightNOTTINGHAM POST/BPM MEDIA
Image captionThe IICSA said staff at Beechwood Community Home were “threatening and violent”

What happened?

Children suffered abuse, including repeated rapes, sexual assaults and voyeurism, at many of Nottinghamshire City and County council’s homes as well as in foster care.

One girl who was abused while in foster care was later placed into a children’s home, where she was visited by her abuser.

The inquiry found in one home inspected in the early 1990s “all children resident over a 12-month period were found to have been exposed to harmful sexual behaviour”.

From the late 1970s to this year, 16 residential staff and 10 foster carers were convicted of sexual abuse of children in their care.

The IICSA panel heard 15 days of evidence from 115 witnesses at public hearings in London and Nottingham in October.

Who is to blame?

The IICSA said some foster carers were allowed to carry on looking after vulnerable children even when they were “known perpetrators”, including some who “then went on to abuse children again”.

It said there was “too much willingness on the part of council staff to take the side of the foster carers and to disbelieve the child”.

The report found only two disciplinary actions were taken when allegations of sexual abuse were made at Beechwood, both of which “were inadequate”.

Beechwood Community Home Mapperley IICSAImage copyrightNOTTINGHAM POST/BPM MEDIA
Image captionFormer Beechwood residents told the inquiry of run-down conditions in the children’s home

County councillors looking after the oversight of children “did not question the scale of sexual abuse or what action was being taken”, which the inquiry said was a “serious failure of scrutiny and governance”.

John O’Brien, secretary to the inquiry, said the Nottinghamshire investigation was “in terms of scale, the most shocking we have seen”.

“We’re not talking here about one individual that either blocked or actively participated in the sexual abuse of children, we’re just talking about a regime that over many years just didn’t recognise what they needed to do to protect children.”

Nottinghamshire Police was also criticised by the inquiry, which said the force’s initial investigation into allegations was “not adequately resourced” and complaints were not dealt with “sufficient seriousness”.

What do the victims say?

Claire Blake
Image captionClaire Blake said she still suffers nightmares following her abuse at Beechwood

People who were abused as children over the five decades have called for changes at the councils.

Claire Blake, who has waived her right to anonymity, was abused at Beechwood in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

She said: “I’m still suffering now and I’m 42. I didn’t even have respect for myself, never mind anyone else, I just existed.”

She said seeing the councils “finally start acknowledging” abuse was a positive step, but said fellow survivors want to see authorities start protecting children.

“I think the people that were in charge need to be held accountable,” she added.

“They knew, and they hid it, and I think people need to be held responsible.”

Another victim Caroline Nolan said she “withdrew within myself” because of the abuse.

“As I got older, I had very bad anger issues,” she added.

John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, said the report showed that “even today those who’ve survived child abuse in the past have not been treated properly or fairly”, and called for authorities across the country to improve.

Have the councils apologised?

The IICSA panel said comments by then city council leader Jon Collins – who was quoted as saying in a meeting last year the authority “will apologise when there is something to apologise for” – were “crass and caused avoidable upset”.

Nottinghamshire County Council made a public apology to victims in January last year, with Nottingham City Council following suit two weeks before the hearings opened.

The report criticised the city council for its “guarded” approach to issuing public apologies for failings, saying the authority was “slow to appreciate the level of distress felt by complainants”.

It recommended that both councils “assess the potential risks posed by current and former foster carers” and ensure carers from external agencies are properly assessed.

It also called for the city council to commission an independent review “of their practice concerning harmful sexual behaviour, including responses, prevention, assessment, intervention and workforce development”.

Current city council leader David Mellen, who gave evidence to the inquiry, said the council acknowledged it had “let some young people down” and should have closed down Beechwood sooner.

“We hope that the changes that we have made can reassure people who have been abused in the past that children are much safer now,” he said.

County council leader Kay Cutts said she was “utterly ashamed” by the abuse, and promised to implement any recommendations made by the report.

“I can’t apologise enough to the survivors and their families,” she said.

WILDCAT Five suspects accused of sexually abusing 42 pupils at Scots school

Five suspects accused of sexually abusing 42 pupils at Scots school

FIVE suspects have appeared in court accused of abusing 42 pupils at a school.

Robert de Koning, 65, and Ian Nutman, 60, face a string of allegations including sexual abuse over three decades.

Philip Barton, 64, Angus Munn, 55, and Nigel Lloyd, 59, are also accused of several assaults at the establishment in Fife.

All charges relate to a period between 1981 and 2013.

Sex abuse scandal Celtic Boys Club ‘shared identical child protection policy’ as Celtic FC

Nutman, of Kirkcaldy, is accused of ten attacks, including one which allegedly endangered life, as well as one charge of sexual abuse.

De Koning, also from the town, faces a charge of assault, four of sexual abuse and two of indecent assault.

Barton, of Aberdour, is accused of 45 offences, including 42 assaults.

Prosecutors claim he caused severe injury in three cases and endangered life in seven.

Other allegations include watching boys naked in a communal shower — and striking one on the buttocks.

Munn, of Kinghorn, allegedly left a lad unconscious by forcing him to the ground and lying on him. He’s accused of risking life on four occasions.

Meanwhile, Lloyd, of Kinross, faces five assault raps.

All men denied the charges at a preliminary hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh and will stand trial next year.

Five men accused of abusing 42 children at Fife special school across more than three decades   Courier

Five men charged with abusing more than 40 pupils over 30 years at school   Mirror


IAN NUTMAN – Ian & wife Edwina adopted 4 children, three of which had down syndrome. When they first met, Ian was teaching at a school for children with special needs.

PHILIP BARTON – Starley Hall School, Aberdour Road, Burntisland, Fife.Starley Hall has two residential houses with 14 residential placements. males & female.  (both of which can be seen on this map)

Starley Hall School is privately owned by Philip Barton, his wife & their 3 sons.  archived

Quoted from Starley Hall website –  “Starley Hall provides 52 week residential care and education placements for young people aged 10-18 years who present with emotional and/or social difficulties and can often be disengaged from all aspects of learning. The school also offers day pupil placements for a small number of young people. We have developed a multi-disciplinary staff group that is experienced in working with vulnerable young people, some of whom are on the autistic spectrum, have diagnosis of ADHD, attachment disorder and mild to moderate learning difficulties. Some of our young people can present with challenging behaviour and require specialised support and input.”

Starley Hall has been in the headlines before in 2018 when Colin Edwards who worked at Starley Hall was struck off for physically assaulting a boy

SCOTTISH ABUSE INQUIRY – Witness statement of ADRIAN SNOWBALL who worked in Starley Hall

Tall Trees – Starley Hall | Reaching Out  “Tall Trees is a service operated by Starley Hall. The house is situated in the city of Dunfermline, Fife and comprises of a two story building. The accommodation provides high quality residential accommodation offering a safe and nurturing environment for up to five young people aged between 10 and 18 years of age inclusive.”



SAME SENTENCE AS NICK FOR RAPING TWO BOYS ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????



Catholic priest, 76, who repeatedly raped two schoolboys leaving one of them praying for death is jailed for 18 years 

Father Michael Higginbottom, 76, targeted two boys at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, Lancashire, in the 1970s and 80s. He has been jailed for 18 years, half in prison and half on licence.

Andrew Grays Mum

Andrew Grays Mum

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Jim McCafferty: Former Liverpool and Celtic star Kenny Dalglish speaks out – Belfast Live ⁦@kennethdalglish⁩ We’re being completely ignored & silenced here in Scotland. For the sake of my late son & many others, please help us. #CelticBoysClub…
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