In this week’s podcast the abuse team discuss the Doncaster Care homes child abuse scandal, as three care homes are investigated for physical abuse, sexual abuse, violence, neglect and emotional abuse.
Three care homes in Doncaster owned by Hesley Group for children, young people and adults with severe physical and mental disabilities are being investigated for physical abuse, sexual abuse, violence, neglect and emotional abuse.
A total of 104 reports of concern were made at the homes between early 2018 and the spring of 2021. A former support worker at one of the homes, who said she went to the police in 2018 to give them names of abused children and their staff tormentors but was told there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
The homes, which included two residential special schools, charged local authorities £250,000 a year to care for each young person.
Leaked documents also show Ofsted was alerted 40 times about incidents.
All three care homes have since been closed and have said that a number of staff had been dismissed.
South Yorkshire Police is sifting through evidence and has urged families of children at the home to come forward so their ‘voices can be heard’ as officers investigate allegations of abuse between 2018 and 2021.
The police first launched Operation Lemur Alpha in March 2021 after the allegations came to light – and police are now appealing for parents, families and potential victims to come forward with information.
As a result of the investigation, a national panel was set up and which has urged urgent action on all local authorities to ensure that children with complex needs and disabilities living in similar children’s homes are safe and well.
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel identified a “culture of abuse”, including evidence of violence and sexual harm. Launched in January, shockingly it found a number of complaints had been made to Ofsted dating back to 2015.
Its findings have prompted calls for an urgent, nationwide review of similar children’s homes.