Abused but Not Heard
With national and local enquiries into historic sexual abuse, Jane Deith talks to former pupils assaulted at Knowl View School in Rochdale about the effect on their lives.
Knowl View special school for boys has become infamous as the haunt of Cyril Smith. Prosecutors now say 'Mr Rochdale' should have been charged with abuse of boys while he was alive. But he was not the only one. In the first of a new series, former pupils in the 1970s, 80s and 90s tell File on 4 how a web of abusers, including local paedophiles and other pupils preyed on boys as young as eight while people supposed to protect them looked the other way. Previous police investigations came to nothing. A new probe is underway, focusing on who could be guilty of a criminal cover up. But what became of the innocent? Jane Deith hears from some of those who experienced life in Knowl View. Telling their stories for the first time, they describe childhoods twisted by sexual abuse. Now questions are being asked about whether the failure to end the abuse at Knowl View led to a culture in which the subsequent grooming of young girls in Rochdale was allowed to happen. Alan Collins, a specialist child abuse lawyer representing some of the men who're suing Rochdale Council over abuse at Know View, believes things would have been different had Cyril Smith been prosecuted and convicted: "That would have sent a clear message through Rochdale and much further afield that there was clearly a problem and that problem would not have been so easy to brush away. I think that had a very long tail and that that tail continued right up until recent times."
Reporter: Jane Deith
Producer: Sally Chesworth.