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IICSA reports Nottingham councils exposed children to abuse and tolerated sexualised behaviour

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published its report into the treatment of children in the care of Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils from the 1960s to present day.

Anonymous girl

1 August 2019

The IICSA report states that hundreds of children were sexually abused by residential home staff and foster carers. The report also stated that sexualised behaviour by adults towards children was “tolerated or overlooked” creating a desirable environment for predatory paedophiles.

The inquiry received around 350 complaints dating back to the 1960s and the Nottingham strand of the inquiry received the biggest number of allegations of any of the inquiry’s investigations so far.

The abuse reported included repeated rapes, sexual assaults and voyeurism and evidence was heard from 115 witnesses over 15 days in October 2018.

The Nottinghamshire investigation was described as "in terms of scale, the most shocking we have seen" by secretary to the inquiry, John O'Brien. The report found that opportunities to protect children were missed, allegations were not properly investigated, and disciplinary procedures were inadequate.

In its conclusion, in reference to the councils, the report stated that “neither of the Councils learned from their mistakes despite decades of evidence of failure to protect children in care”.

The report continued to say that despite being informed of disciplinary action taken against staff following allegations of abuse “County councillors responsible for oversight of children’s social care did not question the scale of sexual abuse or what action was being taken. This was a serious failure of scrutiny and governance”.

The report also criticised the actions of the police including failing to treat allegations with sufficient seriousness and a lack of urgency in its investigations.

The IICSA noted that there is still no process for the regular reporting of sexual abuse allegations of children in care by either the County or City councils therefore “knowledge of the scale of allegations of sexual abuse of children in care and the response to those allegations has been limited and inconsistent”.

Alison Millar, head of the abuse team at law firm Leigh Day who represents survivors of abuse in the care of the Nottingham councils, said:

“We are pleased that the IICSA report has shed light on the decades of prolific abuse of children under the care of Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils. The scale of its findings are truly shocking. Both councils took very different approaches to the IICSA but surely they must now work together to acknowledge, apologise and provide redress and support to survivors for what are clearly systemic, institutional failures on a massive scale.”

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