Saturday, 26 May 2007

care homes



SCORES of former care home residents are suing a North council over horrific sexual, emotional and physical abuse they suffered as children. The Sunday Sun can today exclusively reveal details of the landmark legal battle . . . the biggest of its kind to ever rock the region. At present,647 men and women are involved in the case against Sunderland City Council. They are seeking compensation for abuse they allege they have suffered at care homes in the city and across the region. In all, 124 homes used by Sunderland social services to house youngsters are implicated. They include premises in Tyneside, Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria. Solicitors say the present number of claimants is the "tip of the iceberg." They estimate the figure could at least double before next summer. Last Monday, a judge at Newcastle's Moot Hall made an order enabling the group legal action to go ahead. CLAIMS Legal experts say the cost to Sunderland City Council could run into millions. The action relates to those in care between 1960 and 1990. Some of the more severe sexual abuse claimants could win pay-outs of more than £50,000. The allegations include claims of rape plus physical and emotional abuse. There are alleged instances of up to four members of staff sitting on a child for up to an hour. There are also claims that sexual abuse by members of staff against the residents and sexual abuse between the residents was ignored. INFAMOUS Other allegations involve assaults where children were kicked in the leg, hit in the head, knocked to the ground and kicked again. The action emerged from complaints made in the 1980s about the infamous Witherwack House in Sunderland. Two workers at the home, Kevin Roffe and Glynis Tamblin, were found guilty of child cruelty at a trial which ended in 1993. Another worker, Michael Dagg, died of natural causes before the trial. Witherwack House was eventually demolished. After the initial claims, a stream of people came forward to complain. Other homes include the Wellesley Nautical School in Blyth, and Netherton Park in Morpeth, both Northumberland. Also Aycliffe Centre in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, Stanhope Castle in Carlisle and Thorncliffe Working Boys Hostel in East Boldon, South Tyneside. Other Sunderland homes include Emsworth House, Penshaw House and The Esplanade. Cases Sunderland solicitors Richard Reed are the lead firm in the case, representing 43 claimants. At Monday's hearing, a schedule was drawn up. Then 15 lead cases will be selected and will go to trial SUFFERING Brian Puech of Richard Reed said: "There has been group litigation before. But it's the biggest there's ever been in the North East." Andrea Ribchester, also of Richard Reed, said: "This could be the tip of the iceberg. "The horrible thing is that often it wasn't just one member of a family in care, but siblings. "Families' lives have been ruined and people are still suffering now, when they are well into their 40s." A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: "We will be continuing investigations into these claims in accordance with the timetable at the hearing." ONE man, now 33, was a resident in Witherwack House between 1979 and 1984. He claims he was locked in a room for an entire weekend, stripped naked and left on cold plastic bedding. THE man also alleges being forced into a scalding hot bath, being pinned down and having his arms shoved up behind his back to breaking point. HE also claims that his head was bashed against a radiator and that the treatment regularly drove him to contemplate suicide. ON one occasion, he locked himself in his bedroom after returning from his grandmother's funeral. HE says a member of staff broke down the door and pushed him through a window. He says he still has a three-inch scar across his wrist

4 comments:

Thomas Taylor said...

You touch on some good points in your post here. I think any questions are best discussed with a professional. This care home put some of my worries to bed.
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Colin Watson said...

You have the address of Stanhope Castle wrong, its in Weardale Co, Durham, Not in Carlisle, Im a victim and survivor of Sexual, Physical & Psychological abuse from 1959 to 64. You couldn't begin to understand the pain and suffering that went on in that hell hole.

Gary Blake said...

I'm curious as to the timings of some of these attacks...I was in Netherton Park, The Esplanade/Sunderland and The Working Boys again in Sunderland in the late 70s early 80s and can honestly say that I had never witnessed any staff mistreatment of any of the residents....I knew Mick Dagg and his wife quite well....I'm sorry to hear he passed at such an early age.....

whitesatin26uk said...

Stanhope castle was brutal torture, i have tried for years to bring it to light but gets blcked each time a cover up some where, what i went through i am unable to go into detail on this, still bare the scars 40 years later recieving counselling and totaly messed up.