Children in care homes were not believed because of their backgrounds, says former social worker
Police in Nottinghamshire failed to investigate cases of child sexual abuse in care homes, according to a former social worker.
The woman alleges that the claims were not believed because of the children’s backgrounds. She said she made three separate complaints, some as late as the early 2000s, but no action was taken.
“The difficulty that we had was that the residential staff would deny it. They would provide alibis for each other,” she told BBC Radio 4.
Operation Daybreak, a police investigation into historical child sexual abuse at Nottinghamshire children’s homes, is currently investigating more than 100 incidents of abuse dating back to the 1960s.
“Historically, victims haven’t been listened to enough,” said Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping. He served as a social worker in Nottinghamshire in the 1970s and was interviewed as a witness during the investigation last year.
A police spokesperson promised that “swift action” would be taken to investigate the latest allegations and that any officers found to have used such language would face misconduct charges.
“It is difficult to comment on historic practices and the actions of people who will have long since retired from the force,” she said.
Operation daybreak was launched in 2010 and initially focused on the Beechwood children’s care home in Mapperley. It has since been expanded to include 12 others in the Nottinghamshire area.
Police have arrested 11 people in total in “one of the largest” criminal investigations the force has ever undertaken. The most recent arrest was of a 65-year old woman on suspicion of indecent assault and aiding and abetting a rape offence during the 1970s, the Nottingham Post reports.
Last year, it was revealed that city and county councils had paid out a total of £250,000 in compensation to 26 former residents and a “significant” number of cases were still being considered.
Nottingham city and Nottinghamshire county councils have issued a joint statement expressing their frustration that an independent inquiry cannot be launched until the criminal investigations have been concluded.
“Survivors of child abuse can be assured that we are supporting the police investigation to try and get to the truth and hopefully bring any perpetrators to justice,” they said.