Inquiry

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Inquiry into Highate Wood paedophile case finds no ‘major failings’

Published December 9, 2014 by misty534

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An independent inquiry into the handling of a paedophile case at Highgate Wood School has found no “major failings”.

The inquiry, led by Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Board (HSCB), looked into the way in which the school, council and police dealt with the case of former PE teacher Andrew Adams, who was recently jailed for abusing a pupil in the 1980s.

Adams, 68, pleaded guilty to charges of abusing and indecently assaulting a pupil at Highgate Wood School  in the 1980s. He was sentenced to 12 years in jail in July this year.

Writing in his report on the findings, Sir Paul Ennals, independent chairman of HSCB, said the inquiry had indentified ways in which the response to the Adams case could have been improved.

The report praised the police for securing a conviction years after the abuse took place, but said the force needs to be more pro-active in making sure alleged abusers do not continue to put young people at risk once identified.

It also suggested police need to make decisions on whether to look for more victims or not clearer, and should ensure victims of abuse are helped find the necessary support.

Focussing on Haringey Council, Sir Ennals writes that the council’s strategy meetings were too informal at the time of the abuse, but that this has since changed.

He states that meetings must be properly minuted, that looking for more victims or witnesses should be clearly considered, and that “all relevant actions are taken to ascertain that an alleged perpetrator does not pose a threat to young people”.

It is noted that Highgate Wood School has had its current child protection policies praised by Ofsted.

Sir Ennals writes that schools across the borough must consider how their sex and relationship education could help protect children from “unwanted approaches from adults”, and that clear whiste-blowing and communications policies are in place.

In the report’s conclusion, Sir Ennals, said: “The current media focus on celebrity abuse from the past shows how out culture has moved on in many ways – some of what seems to have been commonplace 30 years ago is much rarer today.

“Yet the current public concerns about child sexual exploitation show how some historical crimes can find ways of resurfacing under new guises.

“By tackling the past, we can sometimes be helped in tackling today’s challenges”.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said:  “We welcome the LSCB’s review of the handling of these allegations of historic abuse and have taken on board the recommendations made in the report. Our thoughts remain with the victim in this distressing case.”

Councillor Liz Morris, Haringey Liberal Democrat children’s spokesman, said: “Sadly there will always be the possibility of similar cases in the future.

“Haringey must therefore apply the learnings from this review of events at Highgate Wood School so that the police, the council and local schools improve the handling of any future cases.”

Commenting on his report, Sir Ennals expressed gratitude to Andrew Adams’s victim for his “courage in coming forward” and his contributions to the inquiry.

The Independent is waiting for a comment from Haringey Police.

Aime Williams

Jersey Care Inquiry hears girls ‘sedated and raped’

Published October 6, 2014 by misty534

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Jean Neil said writing her book gave her the courage to speak out about the abuse

A former resident of a girls’ home has told the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry girls were repeatedly sedated and raped there in the 1940s and 50s.

Jean Neil, 79, has written about her experiences in the care system in her book “Chair Bound to Heaven Bound.”

Quizzed by counsel for the inquiry Patrick Sadd, she spoke of her time at the Grouville Girls Home, later the Jersey Home for Girls.

Mrs Neil, now of Rugby, Warwickshire, said punishments were severe.

She said from about the age of eight she would be carried downstairs and injected by members of staff. She said this also happened to other girls.

‘You couldn’t struggle’

“They would say ‘we need to give you an injection’ when they took us from our bed and we would say ‘what is it for?’ and would be told to mind our own business.”

The injection would leave them dazed but not completely knocked out, she said.

Mrs Neil said: “You were in a state where you had no ability to struggle. There was one occasion – and I don’t know if the injection hadn’t worked properly – I distinctly remember people having sex with me after I had been injected.

“I do not know who it was but I know I was raped and there were other people there.”

She said after this all happened they would be told “whatever we thought had happened or whatever we remember happening had not happened.”

Mrs Neil said the rapes started when she was about eight and happened every couple of months until she was about 11 or 12 and that senior members of staff would be present.

She talked about a number of punishments for a range of offences, including swearing, stealing apples or playing with boys from school.

  • Wetting the bed would lead to girls being beaten with stinging nettles and rubbed with the wet sheets.
  • They would also be made to go to sleep naked with stinging nettles under them.
  • Girls would be submerged in an ice bath fully-clothed and only released when they gasped for breath.
  • There would be weekly public beatings in the yard for the worst-behaved girls.

Mrs Neil said when they first arrived at the home, aged six, the girls were told their tongues would be cut out if they told anyone of anything that happened to them.

The inquiry, which is investigating allegations of historical abuse in the island’s care system from 1945 to the present day, continues.

BBC