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30 years of failures saw sex abuse of 350 children

Notorious: Beechwood Care Home PICTURE: BPM

SEXUAL abuse of hundreds of children in care continued for decades because of repeated failures by councils to learn from mistakes, a report says.

Some 350 people say they were abused in care in Nottinghamshire from the 1960s and it is likely there were more victims, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has found.

The number of specific allegations is higher than in any other investigation conducted by the inquiry to date.

There was widespread abuse in many Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council homes during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the report said.

Children in foster care were also victims of offences including repeated rapes, sexual assaults and voyeurism.

The councils exposed vulnerable children ‘to the risk, and reality, of sexual abuse perpetrated primarily by predatory residential staff and foster carers’, the inquiry found.

Police failed to treat allegations with ‘sufficient seriousness’. Between the late 1970s and 2019, 16 home staff and ten foster carers were convicted of abuse. ‘Harmful sexual behaviour’ also occurred between children, resulting in at least 12 convictions.

The inquiry heard evidence about the notorious Beechwood Care Home, with ex-residents recalling routine abuse by staff that they were too afraid to report. Inquiry chairwoman Prof Alexis Jay said: ‘Neither of the councils learnt from their mistakes, meaning more children suffered unnecessarily.’

Both the city and county councils have made public apologies.