Wales

Wales child abuse: Over 60 cases reported to children's commissioner

The children's commissioner for Wales says his team are managing over 60 cases of abuse, the majority relating to the north Wales care home scandal.

Keith Towler also confirmed that he has received a copy of the previously shelved 1996 Jillings report into the abuse in the 1970s and 80s.

It comes as four north Wales AMs said North Wales Police should not handle a review into the evidence of abuse.

Mr Towler said he understood the AMs' reasons.

The four assembly members called for independent police officers to be brought in to review the evidence of child abuse in the region, rather than staff from North Wales Police because of allegations that the force was complicit in past "cover-ups".

Mr Towler said: "I can see where they're coming from and in terms of some of the people who got in touch with me and my team over the last few days it's pretty clear they're getting in touch with me because they have got no respect for any police authority.

"What's heartening from having shared that with Keith Bristow [who is leading a police inquiry into the allegations] is that what Keith Bristow said is we need to find a way of making sure we don't lose sight of what it is they're saying."

Aled Roberts, Liberal Democrat AM for North Wales, Ann Jones, Labour AM for Vale of Clwyd, Llyr Huws Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales and Mark Isherwood, Conservative AM for North Wales, wrote to Mark Polin, chief constable of North Wales Police.

They wrote: "In view of the allegations made locally that North Wales Police were at the time complicit in a "cover-up", we do not believe that it would be appropriate for the force to undertake a review of the evidence."

Council archives

Image caption The child abuse allegations date back to the 1970s and 80s

Mr Towler was speaking after giving details about the number of people who have contacted his office since 5 November.

He said his team were currently managing 66 separate cases, including 30 of which related to the original child abuse inquiry and 14 of which related to historic abuse in other places.

He also said he had received a copy of the Jillings report, which was commissioned after claims of widespread abuse in 40 homes.

Initially, seven care workers were convicted in 1991 following allegations of historic abuse centring on the Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham.

However, as further claims involving many more homes emerged, the former Clwyd County Council commissioned John Jillings to investigate in 1994.

Mr Jillings said his report was not published because council insurers felt it could lead to the authority being sued, and after taking legal advice it was considered the report was not suitable for publication.

However, Flintshire council officials said on Monday that copies had been found in local council archives.

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