Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Waterhouse Report into abuse in children's homes in Wales

Yesterday David Cameron announced two new inquiries into abuse in children's homes in North Wales.

The was because the original inquiry, conducted by the late high court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse, has increasingly come under question - see the post I wrote following Friday's Newsnight report.

Intentionally or not, that report has shifted the focus of public outrage from the Jimmy Savile and the BBC to shadowy Conservative grandees.

Lost in Care, as the Waterhouse inquiry report was called, can be found online over at the National Archives site. Whatever its inadequacies, it is worth looking at for the background to this affair.


Iain Sharpe said...

There is of course another perspective on this. The cultural historian, the late Richard Webster wrote a detailed study of the North Wales scandal and the Waterhouse enquiry, 'The Secret of Bryn Estyn', which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize - see http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Secret-Bryn-Estyn-Making/dp/0951592262/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352209186&sr=8-2

But Webster argued that the atmosphere of moral panic in the 1990s, combined with the trawling methods used by North Wales police and elsewhere led to a series of miscarriages of justice against innocent care workers. He criticises Waterhouse for failing to consider the evidence for this possibility.

One would like to hope that the present inquiry will examine all possible criticisms of Waterhouse.

Jonathan Calder said...

Yes, I swapped emails with Richard Webster and he once linked to something I had written about abuse in Leicestershire children's homes.

I had it in mind to write about that, but his website has been taken down since I last looked at it a couple of days ago.

Iain Sharpe said...

The site appears to be back up: http://www.richardwebster.net/

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks. But the article of mine that Richard linked to was on the Lord Bonkers' Diary site, which BT have just stopped hosting for free.

I saved those files before BT took the site down, so I'll see if I can reconstruct the exchange Richard and I had.