Wales child abuse: 'Victims starting to be believed'

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Media captionKeith Gregory urged victims to come forward

A Wrexham councillor who alleges he was abused as a child while in care in north Wales says victims will feel they are now being believed.

Keith Gregory was speaking after police revealed they have received 140 allegations of historical abuse between 1963 and 1992.

It has emerged 76 new complainants have come forward as part of an inquiry.

At a news conference north Wales chief constable Mark Polin told victims: "It's never too late to report abuse."

Operation Pallial, an independent investigation examining claims of historical child abuse at children's homes in north Wales, says it has found "significant evidence of systemic and serious sexual and physical abuse".

It said a total of 84 suspected offenders have been named - 75 male and nine female. Of these, 16 have been named by more than one complainant.

It is believed that 10 of the 16 may be deceased.

Mr Gregory has previously told the BBC he was sexually, physically and mentally abused while at Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham in the 1970s by some members of staff and others from the local community.

'Complex investigations'

"To bring justice these allegations need to be looked at," said Mr Gregory.

"It feels like at last we are starting to be believed."

Keith Towler, the Children's Commissioner for Wales, said further allegations revealed by officers on Monday working on the Operation Pallial inquiry shows how critical it is to offer victims of abuse the opportunity to be heard.

The investigation involves police officers, primarily from forces in north west England, supported by members of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP Centre).

Mr Towler said he was encouraged "so many victims have felt empowered to contact the investigation team and that their voices have finally been heard".

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, described the inquiry as one of the most "complex investigations of its kind".

He said: "Our experienced locally-based volunteers have provided a balanced mix of emotional and practical support to those who have come forward.

"We would encourage any other victims to come forward in the knowledge that Victim Support and our partners will sensitively and confidentially provide them with the help they need."

North Wales Chief Constable Mark Polin has said offenders quite rightly should have to "look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives".

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