Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Knowl View Report & Council cover up reinforces the need for Mandatory Reporting Law

Knowl View, Rochdale
I was speaking this morning on Radio Manchester about the recently revealed scandal into a report done by an inspector who went to the Knowl View children's home in 1991 and was told that boys were being used as prostitutes and were also being abused forcibly at the home.

Bearing in mind that there is not only a police investigation but also an independent enquiry being commissioned by the Council at the moment by Queens Counsel, this leaked information must be of some importance because otherwise it would simply have featured in the report when published.

As we at QualitySolicitors Abney Garsden act for a victim of the abuse, I do know that the abuse spans the 1960's, 70's, and 80s. The inspection in this case took place in 1991 - which was only a few years before the home closed in 1995. The question would be did any abuse take place after the report, and how long before the report, was the abuse happening with either the actual knowledge, or constructive knowledge of the home?

The points I made on the radio were:-
  1. I have been dealing with Children's Home abuse cases for 20 years and have never come across a report mentioning that abuse had actually taken place, then being covered up. Usually one only comes across evidence of a blind eye being turned to signs that children were not behaving normally or maybe a child who tried to disclose but did not quite manage to get everything out. 
  2. This shows that the abuse was taking place quite openly at the home rather than happening in secret as usually occurs. 
  3. This report will make the victims very angry that their complaints at the time were not responded to in the proper manner and that those in authority were engaged in a cover up. 
  4. On the one hand it will make them angry because it will bring it all to the surface again. On the other hand it will please them that albeit many years later they have some chance of getting some justice. 
  5. It reinforces the campaign for mandatory reporting, because if it had been possible to complain to an outside body rather than the report being internalised at Rochdale Council, there is a chance that something could have been done at the time, and the scandal uncovered. 
  6. There is no criminal offence of failing to report suspicions of abuse and there should be. Those who buried the report should be held accountable for orchestrating a cover up. 
  7. The police will only be able to prosecute the abusers if they are still alive rather than those who buried the complaints, who the victims often feel were more to blame.
For more detail on our mandatory reporting campaign see my separate blog on the subject here.

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