Child Abuse Scandal Widening in Britain
March 1, 2000 ·
Published in The Foreign Post
The nationwide network may have claimed as many as 11,000 victims over 20 years, the reports say, adding that the scandal is set to dwarf an investigation in north Wales involving 40 residential homes, revealed last week.
Detectives have identified 96 suspects and fear others may still be working with children.
The Scotland Yard investigation began when a former care worker in South London was jailed for abusing 12 boys, the Daily Mail reported, adding that it had since been broadened to cover the entire country.
Police discovered a widespread network of child sex offenders who gradually infiltrated residential homes, working their way into key posts where they could help accomplices find jobs with children, the newspaper said.
The reports of a widening scandal came only days after an intensive search for 28 individuals cited in a report on child abuse located a woman in West Midlands, England, who has now been suspended from her work involving contact with children.
The unnamed woman was the only one found to be working with youngsters after a massive 48-hour search involving every local authority, health authority and National Health Service (NHS) trust institution in England and Wales.
The most recent addresses of all 28-including three women-have been found, the Health Department said after ordering the search in the wake of a Study that detailed the systematic physical and sexual abuse of children in care homes in north Wales between 1974 and 1996.
Local authorities and voluntary organizations were asked to check past and present employment records before declaring themselves free from known child abusers.
The study into the abuse of youngsters at 40 residential homes found that a “climate of violence” and a “cult of silence” had shattered hundreds of young lives.
It made 72 recommendations, including designating an independent children’s commissioner, assigning social workers to investigate abuse allegations, and facilitating adoption.
The report, published last week after an inquiry lasting more than 200 days, listed 28 people who pose a risk to youngsters including former teachers, residential home staff and other care-givers, some convicted of child abuse.
It included two of Britain’s most notorious sex offenders – Stephen Norris, 63, and John Allen, 58, who served jail terms for sex offences against boys in care in Wales.
Police say they know the where abouts of the pair and that neither is now working with children.
More than 700 organizations were given until 5:00 pm last Thursday to pass on any details about the abusers so that they could be tracked down.