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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 19:26 GMT
Child home abuse group given 2m
Broome House, Didsbury
A total of 2m was paid out in compensation
A group of victims of sexual and physical abuse at children's homes in Manchester have been awarded more than 2m in compensation.

The group of 168 individuals was formed in March 2000 in response to a Greater Manchester Police investigation.

Some 66 children's homes in Greater Manchester were investigated.

The compensation, totalling 2.26m, was given for the abuse itself, the lifelong effects and for expenses such as therapy, the group's lawyers said.

'Not enough'

But Peter Garsden, a lawyer for the group, does not believe the payout is sufficient.

"The law could only provide what precedent allows," he said.

"Unfortunately decided cases restrict the amount of compensation which the judges can award and that, quite frankly, isn't enough.

"The victims would argue that it should be millions of pounds and what price can you put on a ruined life?"

Victim's hands
If you weren't getting battered you were made to perform various sexual acts

Manchester City Council Social Services Department ran most of the homes investigated.

The city council was ordered to pay the compensation at a hearing at Manchester High Court last Thursday.

The main homes involved were Rosehill in Northenden, Broome House in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys' School in Mobberley, Knutsford, Cheshire.

One of the victims told the BBC he was abused by 19 different people in five homes. "It was constant," he said.

"If it wasn't one it was the other. If you weren't getting battered you were made to perform various sexual acts.

"If you ran away you were held down in a bath of cold water by two adult males. You know, it was rampant. It was terrible."

Civil action

The man, who did not want to be identified, said telling social workers was useless because they were "part of the system".

The victims formed the Manchester Children's Home Abuse Group in March 2000 following the five-year police investigation, codenamed Operation Cleopatra.

Many of those involved in the group action against the council were victims whose evidence was not used to secure criminal convictions.

Mr Garsten said some may have been considered too fragile to give evidence, while others were missed during the long-running inquiry.

"There were many that the police simply couldn't speak to because there weren't enough officers to interview them all," he added.

Rosehill, Northenden
More than 60 children's homes were investigated

They secured payouts after their allegations were corroborated during the civil proceedings and their cases accepted by the council's lawyers.

In December 2001, Ronald Hall, the warden of Broome House, was found guilty of eight charges of indecency against children in his care stretching back 30 years. He was jailed for 11 years.

Hall had risen to the rank of assistant director of Manchester City Council social services by the time of his arrest.

His colleague, Ian Gray, was jailed for 14 years earlier that year after being convicted of 23 similar offences.

In 2004, Philip Roe was jailed for twelve-and-a-half years for 15 sexual abuse offences on children he visited in foster and care homes while he worked for Manchester's social services department in the 1980s.

He was working as a social worker in Essex when he was arrested as part of Operation Cleopatra.

'Historical abuse'

Pauline Newman, Director of Children's Services at Manchester City Council, said: "The compensation claims relate to historical abuse that took place in Manchester children's homes mostly in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

"We very much regret the abuse that occurred and the impact this has had on the individuals concerned.

"There are now far more effective systems and checks in place to prevent this kind of abuse - including stringent inspection and regulation.

"We also work very closely with other agencies involved with young people in the city to prevent abuse of any kind in all settings."

The group's solicitor reacts to the payout

'Evil' abuse social worker jailed
19 May 04 |  Manchester

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