An imminent report looking into the scale of child
sexual abuse in Britain from Deputy Children’s Commissioner for
England, Sue Berelowitz
is likely to shock the public conscience - Ms Berelowitz
claims the evidence shows child abuse is so rife that there is not enough land
in the country to build prisons to house all the perpetrators. In the wake of
that hugely concerning thought, this article looks at current inquiries and
investigations into child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom and Jersey, and
charts their progress.
research and the many investigations into child sexual abuse share a common,
and unfortunate theme, they can be broadly divided into three categories:
criminal investigations by the police looking into allegations of abuse, investigations
into cover ups and corruption surrounding child sexual abuse and the nation’s
overarching Statutory Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, which covers every area
and hopes to offer insight on how government bodies failed vulnerable children.
Whilst the investigations are in some ways separate, there is considerable
overlap, often as a result of individuals being sighted or noted as present in
one or more locations and venues where abuse was alleged or known to have taken
Metropolitan Police-led Operation Fairbank, which is now made up of four other
Operations all stemming from it, began in secret in 2012. Rather than being a
formal inquiry, it was set up to try to assess the extent of allegations made
about abuse which occurred at Elm Guest House near Barnes, London during the
1970s and 1980s. The investigation shed
light on allegations which involved senior politicians and in January 2013, Cyril Smith, a
former Liberal MP who died in 2010, was implicated as a senior figure involved
in sexually abusing boys at Elm Guest House. Following the allegations against
Cyril Smith, police started to investigate claims that a network of high
profile individuals, later labelled as “VIP Paedophiles” had been operating a
paedophile ring in the 1980s, at a children’s
home in Richmond, south west London.
men who had been identified as visitors to Elm Guest House were later arrested
and convicted of multiple sexual offences against children.
As a result of
allegations made during Operation Fairbank, Operation Fernbridge, a full
criminal investigation, was set up. Several people were arrested on suspicion
of sexual offences against children at Grafton Close, the same children’s home
in Richmond which was investigated by Operation Fairbank. Two men were awaiting
trial in January 2015, however one of the men, John Stingemore, who had worked
for Richmond Council, was found dead at his home that same month.The other
McSweeney, a Catholic priest, was tried and found guilty in February 2015 of
child sexual abuse.
serving three years in jail. Operation Fairbank is now closed, however
allegations which arose from it, were moved to other ongoing investigations
like Operation Athabasca, and are being looked at.
Further to allegations
which centered on children’s homes, concerns were also raised about child
sexual abuse which was claimed to have taken place during the 70s and 80s at
Dolphin Square Estate, in Pimlico, London and other locations at the hands of
powerful men, including high profile politicians, army officials and lawyers. Some
claims involve the death of children, and sex parties which were alleged to
have taken place at Dolphin Square. Due to these claims, Operation Midland was
established in November 2014 and is
trying to locate the bodies of those children alleged to have been murdered,
missing at the time.
also been placed under the spotlight. Operation Garford is currently
investigating child abuse allegations in Suffolk from the 70s to the 90s, which
centre on Kesgrave Hall. The original investigation took place in 1992, and the
findings are being reviewed. Stemming from its investigations,
a man has recently been charged
with 16 sexual assaults against three
children at schools in Suffolk and Devon
appeared in court on 23rd April, 2015.
on the case have not yet been reported.
Two other men were also questioned and released on
bail. Both have since died: one man took his own life whilst another died of
persons, or VIPs, have become an integral part of these ongoing child abuse investigations,
the most infamous celebrity involved being, arguably, Jimmy Savile. As such,
Operation Yewtree has been tasked with the sole aim of investigating the extent
of Savile’s sexual offences against children and their connection to other such
offences. The criminal probe focuses on three lines of inquiry: claims against
Savile, claims against Savile and others, and claims against others. Launched
in October 2012, the investigation uncovered allegations against Max Clifford, Rolf Harris and Dave Lee Travis. Both
and Rolf Harris
have since been sentenced and jailed for
sexual offences against children.
Dave Lee Travis was given a suspended sentence of three months.
In conjunction with Operation Yewtree, and due to the far reaching
nature of the allegations against Jimmy Savile, three further investigations
were set up: the Savile NHS Inquiry, BBC Inquiry and the Department for
Operation Yewtree’s arm dedicated to looking at
the extent of Savile’s abuse was closed in December 2012, and a
co-authored by the NSPCC was issued in January 2013.
The scale of child sexual abuses perpetrated by
Savile and subsequently formally recorded as criminal offences was
unprecedented. Following on from this investigation, Operation Hydrant, which
works to gather information from other Inquiries and focuses on links between
child sex abuse and “prominent public persons”, revealed last month that
1,400 suspects, many of whom are celebrities and politicians, have been
investigated by police examining child sexual abuse allegations