Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Latest on abuse inquiry

Both Wales and Westminster reacted to the allegations that the Waterhouse inquiry into child abuse in North Wales care homes had been limited and that many of the children’s allegations of abuse had not been taken seriously at the time.

In Westminster the Home Secretary, Terresa May announced a new police inquiry led by the head of the National Crime Agency to investigate any fresh allegations, and examine the way the North Wales police handled the original complaints. 

Parallel, but separately, Mrs Justice Julia Wendy Macur will investigate the terms of the Waterhouse abuse inquiry in 2000. In light of concerns that the originally inquiry’s terms of reference were not broad enough to deal with many of the issues involved.

Some of the victims go further and say that inquiry did not examine all of their claims of abuse. One victim alleges that a senior Conservative figure from the Thatcher era was involved in the abuse. The fear is that there might have been an establishment cover up, at the time.

Meanwhile the victim that first raised the issues on Newsnight, Mr Messham met Welsh Secretary David Jones. 

After the meeting Mr Jones said about the inquiry " It's absolutely essential that these people should feel that they have had justice. And wherever the inquiry leads, so be it."

In the Assembly the issue was raised in First Minister’s questions and also in an emergency question to the First Minister.

Carwyn Jones said that he was meeting the Children’s Commisioner “this afternoon.” He explained that he’d “received a letter from him (Children’s Commissioner) where he asks what kind of inquiries can take place under the Welsh governments competence I’m aware, of course, what the Home secretary said this afternoon, I will take into account and indeed I will take into account what the children commissioner says this afternoon there are a number of issues that are caught within the allegations that have been made some of them are devolved and some of them are non-devolved. So its important that any future inquiry should that take play must cover both those areas and would require a joint approach by both governments.” 

Calls for what happened in North Wales to be made subject to a wider inquiry was made by Ken Scates the Assembly Member for Wrexham and a former journalist at the time of the Waterhouse inquiry. 

He said “I believe Operation Yewtree, the criminal investigation into alleged abuse by Jimmy Savile and others, should be broadened into an overarching investigation to include allegations of abuse of children residing in care homes.”
After his meeting with the Children Commissioner the First Minister said 

“During our talks Keith Towler confirmed that his office is actively dealing with a number of people who have contacted him since the weekend.
“The office of the Commissioner is wholly independent, and that is why I would again urge anyone who has any relevant information or concerns to come forward and contact Keith and his team.
“Keith Towler will now meet with representatives appointed by the UK Government to understand further their proposed course of action and explore what role his office could have in this process.
“I will be maintaining close contact with Keith over the coming days and weeks for us to agree the appropriate course of action.”

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