Rochdale school abuse inquiry: Peter Forbes 'was failed'

A man who says he was sexually assaulted at a Rochdale residential school has claimed he was failed by social workers and the institution.

Peter Forbes, 44, from Bolton, was placed at Knowl View when he was 11 years old and stayed for five years.

He said he had reported the abuse but social workers had done nothing.

Bolton Council said it was distressed to hear of such allegations and urged anyone with any information to contact Greater Manchester Police.

The force is already investigating allegations that former Rochdale Liberal MP Cyril Smith abused teenage boys at the school.

'Bad kids'

The school first opened in 1969 for vulnerable boys as a joint venture between councils in Oldham, Bolton, Rochdale and Lancashire. It closed in 1995.

Mr Forbes said: "[There was] physical abuse like bullying, mental abuse by staff telling us that we weren't worth anything, and that the reason we were there was because we were bad kids, that kind of thing.

"I was abused on more than one occasion by adults and a couple of staff members.

"I also had to perform sexual acts with other boys in front of adults as well.

"I didn't understand that was wrong at the time but now I do."

He said: "Never in the years that I was under Bolton social services did I ever have any case review over abuse allegations, I never had any reviews at the school with my social worker involved.

"We did have regular case reviews at the kids homes in Bolton but those were... necessary by law, and none of those abuse allegations ever came up to my knowledge."

Bolton Council said in a statement: "Any allegation of this nature is distressing to hear and we urge anyone with any information relating to this inquiry to contact Greater Manchester Police.

"As always, we would co-operate fully with any police investigation and pass relevant records straight to them."

Lancashire County Council said it was aware of an investigation and would co-operate fully as and when it was appropriate to do so.

Linda Fisher, Director of Corporate Services at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "All prudent local authorities make financial provision for claims which could be made against them, but we will strongly defend them where it is appropriate to do so.

"We have received claims relating to child sexual abuse allegations which we are dealing with, but it would not be appropriate to comment further."

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