Council's investigation vow after finding abuse report


Lois Hough

ANOTHER copy of a shelved report into abuse claims at care homes has been discovered in Wrexham Council’s archives.

This comes after Flintshire Council confirmed on Monday it had uncovered a copy of the Jillings Report, which investigated abuse allegations at homes including Bryn Estyn.

Wrexham Council leader Neil Rogers made a statement ahead of a meeting of the council’s executive board yesterday.

It marked the council’s first official comment on recent claims that child abuse in North Wales during the 1970s and 1980s was not properly investigated.

Cllr Rogers said: “Wrexham Council was concerned to learn of the recent statements being made by victims of child abuse during the 1970s and 80s in the North Wales area.

“The claims from these victims that their cases may not have been fully investigated in the series of investigations, reports and inquiries which were held during the 1990s is obviously worrying.

“The council fully supports the calls by victims for any unresolved cases to be fully and independently investigated and, as one of the six successor authorities to the former Gwynedd and Clwyd County Councils, Wrexham Council will co-operate fully with any new police inquiries and the investigation into the scope of the Waterhouse inquiry by Mrs Justice Julia Wendy Macur announced by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary.

“Wrexham Council will continue to work with partners to ensure that any help and support we can provide to bring these matters to a satisfactory conclusion is put at the disposal of the relevant inquiry inspectors.

“Members may also be aware of the press release issued yesterday [Monday] by the chief executive of Flintshire Council.

“This press release related to a report of an internal investigation commissioned in 1994 by the then Clwyd County Council from John Jillings, a retired social services director.

“The inquiry was set up to investigate and report back to Clwyd County Council on what had gone wrong in relation to child care in the county during the 1970s and 80s.

“It has been established that copies of the investigation report still exist, one of which is in this council’s possession, and on behalf of the current North Wales authorities, the head of legal and democratic services in Flintshire Council is seeking specialist legal advice on whether the content of the report can or should be disclosed under Freedom of Information and if so to what extent.

“We will seek to provide any necessary support and advice to possible victims and their families during this difficult time, including contact information to other support agencies specialising in the provision of support in such cases.”

The Wrexham Independents Group, whose member Cllr Keith Gregory was himself a victim of abuse at Bryn Estyn, said they were pleased that a statement had been given by Wrexham Council.

Cllr David Bithell, leader of the group said: “I spoke with the chief executive on Monday and asked that all members were given an update at today’s (Tuesday’s) board meeting on the very serious allegations at Bryn Estyn.

“In particular, we as a group have raised concerns over where a copy of the Jillings report is, which may assist in the wider investigation.”

Cllr Bithell added that his group had given its full backing to Cllr Gregory and that they hoped a full and thorough investigation would be carried out.

Cllr Gregory has issued a further plea for any victims of abuse at Bryn Estyn to get in contact with him.

He said: “I know it’s difficult, but I’m asking any victims of abuse to come forward so that I can help them.

“I will then put them in contact with the Commissioner for Wales.”

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