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The BBC's Niall Dickson reports
"The challenge now is how to better protect today's children"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Social Affairs Correspondent Gail Foley
"They want these people put on an index so that they can never again harm children"
 real 28k

John Hutton, Health Minister
"We are doing all we can to crack down on abusers"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 16 February, 2000, 21:29 GMT
Further abuse prosecutions unlikely

Waterhouse Report graphic The report called for a major overhaul of child care


The UK's largest inquiry into abuse in children's homes is unlikely to result in further criminal prosecutions, police have confirmed.

Deputy Chief Constable of North Wales Police John Owen welcomed the Waterhouse inquiry's findings, but said its evidence would not form the basis of further police investigations.


An appalling catalogue of terror and tragedy inflicted on some of the most vulnerable children in our society
Tony Blair
"The overwhelming majority of the evidence of the abuse considered by the tribunal was uncovered by our investigations," said Mr Owen.

"That evidence has already been considered by the Crown Prosecution Service. The publication of the report does not in itself provide additional evidence to merit further prosecutions," he said.

The government is currently searching for 28 former care workers - six of whom are convicted child abusers - named in the report who have not been traced.

Peter Howarth Former housemaster Peter Howarth: Died in jail
Local authorities and health authorities are being asked to check employment records to ensure they are not working with children.

But North Wales Police have confirmed they know the whereabouts of two convicted paedophiles on the list - John Allen and Steven Norris - both jailed for offences against children. Neither are working in the child care sector.

One of the 28 people spoke to the BBC of his disgust at the move.

The man, who wants to remain anonymous, was convicted of 13 sex offences against teenage boys.

Meanwhile, the North Wales abuse survivors group and voluntary organisations are lobbying for the list to be circulated more widely.

Police said they have not yet been asked for information on the whereabouts of the "missing" 28.

Waterhouse - the main points
A Children's Commissioner for Wales
Local authorities to appoint a Children's Complaints Officer
Local authorities to implement whistle-blowing procedures
Social workers to visit children in their care every eight weeks
An urgent review of rules governing private residential care
A nationwide review of the needs and costs of children's services
Commenting on the report for the first time, Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons: "It is an appalling situation and an appalling catalogue of terror and tragedy inflicted on some of the most vulnerable children in our society."

He pledged to introduce tougher safeguards in the running of care homes.

Opposition Leader William Hague called for resources to be made available to ensure that the 28 people named never worked with children again.

In a formal response, Welsh Assembly Health and Social Services Secretary Jane Hutt has announced an extra 2m to support children in care in Wales.

She said the report left her "shocked and moved" with its "graphic illustrations of how the system had failed children in past".

Stephen Norris Abuser Stephen Norris: Jailed for 10 years
More trouble should be taken to listen to and act on children's concerns, she added.

Among those criticised in the report for failing to protect children was Gethin Evans - who was in charge of child care in Gwynedd.

Mr Evans's current employer - Ceredigion County Council - confirmed that his position as director of social services was being reviewed.

Lost in Care - the report of the Waterhouse inquiry into child abuse in children's homes in north Wales - recommended a massive overhaul of the care system after uncovering a paedophile ring that targeted hundreds of young people in care in the 70s and 80s.

'Wickedness'

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy described the abuse as "appalling mistreatment and wickedness".

"Sorry is not enough. We are determined that this report will lead to a society where young people can be cared for in safety," he said.

The 500,000-word report by former High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse contained 95 conclusions and made 72 recommendations.

Social workers, care home staff, local authorities and the Welsh Office were all severely criticised.

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See also:
15 Feb 00 |  UK
Children in care: Now and then
15 Feb 00 |  Wales
Victims tell of abuse ordeal
16 Feb 00 |  Scotland
Childline seeks new abuse check

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