Education & Health sectors – abuse allegations

The National College of Training and Leadership (the Teacher Regulation Agency) has had its statistics in relation to teacher bans analysed and sexually motivated inappropriate conduct was found to be the reason in a third of them.

To put the figures in context, there are 500,000 teachers in schools in England and 450 have been banned over the last five years.  Furthermore, ‘inappropriate conduct’ generally and not defined specifically constituted more than half the bans.   The proportion relating to sexual misbehaviour therefore is relatively small.

Abuse within a school environment is becoming an increasing focus of IICSA. The interim report into the investigations into the English Benedictine Congregation schools Ampleforth and Downside is due to be published on 9 August 2018.   Worth Abbey and School were excluded from the case study in May 2018. The hearing in connection with St Benedict’s School and Ealing Abbey will proceed later this year.

Meanwhile the residential schools investigation is due to progress to the core participant and hearings stage from September so abuse in school environments will be considered with increased scrutiny.

Of the current IICSA investigations none focus on the health and care sector, there has been some research of relevance but it would be strange if in the future more regard is not given to that sector. The case of Myles Bradbury, the oncologist convicted of abuse of patients is just one example of abuse within the heath sector.  Another is Aston Hall, Derbyshire.

A Police Findings Report and Independent Assurance Report were published last week into events at Ashton Hall.  Ashton Hall was a psychiatric hospital that operated from the 1920s to the 1990s. Derbyshire Constabulary have confirmed that the proprietor between 1947 and the 1970s, Dr Kenneth Milner, would have been questioned if he was still alive.  He died in 1975. The bulk of the allegations are about him and include sexual abuse and physical abuse.  They also include the administration of the drug sodium amytal as part of ‘narcoanalysis’ – the uncovering of repressed traumatic memories.  Due to the passage of time it had not been possible to establish the whereabouts of other members of staff.  The allegations also include drugs being given to restrained children with limited or no records being taken.   It is understood that since the reports were published a further 15 complainants have come forward.  At publication the Derbyshire force took the view that it was not practical or appropriate for them to reach firm conclusions on each allegation and have emphasised that nothing more than indicated above can be inferred about the conduct of Dr Milner.

The allegations have echoes of the calls over the border in Scotland for an investigation into Lennox Castle Hospital, outside Glasgow.  It is alleged that vulnerable children and adults were experimented on with drugs there and at three other facilities under the aegis of the Porton Down research facility during the Cold War.  The Ministry of Defence has indicated that it is not aware of any such programme having existed or any evidence having been adduced to support such claims.

Firth_S-24_printAuthored by Sarah Firth, an associate with BLM

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