Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Child abuse investigations statement

On 6 November 2012, peers heard a statement on new allegations of child abuse linked to children's care homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

The statement, by Home Office Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach, was made earlier in the Commons by Home Secretary Theresa May.

The director general of the National Crime Agency, Keith Bristow, will investigate "renewed allegations against the police and several individuals", Mrs May said.

Labour peer Lord Harris of Haringey questioned how it would be possible for Mr Bristow to lead a "very thorough" and "potentially extremely lengthy" inquiry when he is supposed to have "a more than full-time job" setting up the new crime agency.

Lord Taylor replied that North Wales Police chief constable Mark Polin had suggested Mr Bristow should head the investigation.

He would use the resources "available to him through Soca" (the Serious Organised Crime Agency) and "other assets as well", Lord Taylor added.

Crossbench peer the Earl of Listowe warned that the care system was still failing children today.

He pointed to a report which said "thousands of children" are sexually abused and exploited, and he urged the government to ensure children in care are better looked after and protected.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach replied: "He is absolutely right that we have perhaps been complacent in the past. We can no longer be complacent on this issue.

"I hope the government is making it quite clear it does not intend to be complacent; it will pursue all these matters so we have a better environment for child protection in this country."

Sir Ronald Waterhouse led an inquiry into allegations of abuse in children's homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

There have been complaints from victims that the Waterhouse inquiry's remit was too narrow and did not hear all the allegations.

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