Keeping Quiet on Child Abusers

Paul Foot

  • The Kincora Scandal: Political Cover-Up and Intrigue in Northern Ireland by Chris Moore
    Marine, 240 pp, £6.99, June 1996, ISBN 1 86023 029 6

Under intense pressure from an outraged public and press, the Government last month set up public inquiries into two monstrous scandals involving serial sexual abuse of young people and children in homes in which they had been placed for their own ‘care’. The first inquiry is into abuse in private and council homes in North Wales and follows an earlier inquiry commissioned by Clwyd County Council (now disbanded) and conducted by a high-powered team of three experts led by John Jillings, a former director of social services in Derbyshire. That inquiry concluded that ‘appalling’ sexual abuse went on for years in homes throughout the area. Jillings’s report was so devastating that Michael Beloff, a QC who specialises in libel, warned Clwyd Council not to publish it in case the council received some nasty libel writs. The council’s insurers also warned against publication. Indeed, they said that if the report was published and any of the abused young people sued the council, they would not stump up any damages. Thus pressurised, the councillors kept the report secret. The Secretary of State for Wales, Boy Wonder William Hague, also refused to publish it.

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