Number of kids sexually abused under Lambeth council care ‘likely to be higher’ than thought

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

The true number of kids sexually abused while being looked after by a council is ‘likely to be higher’ than estimated, a new report has warned. 

Thousands of people claim to have been subjected to sexual and physical violence at Lambeth council children’s homes between the 1950s and 1980s in one of England’s worst child abuse scandals. 

But a report into child sexual abuse across England and Wales said it was unlikely the council had been able to identify all victims. 

More than 1,900 people have received payouts from Lambeth council through its compensation scheme, which closed earlier this year. 

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report published on Thursday said that “its investigations into children in the care of Lambeth council and the Nottinghamshire councils found… the true number of victims of child sexual abuse likely to be higher than the local authorities had been able to identify.”

The 468-page report summarised the findings of the child abuse inquiry’s 15 investigations, including that into Lambeth council’s historic abuse scandal. 

Councillor Claire Holland, Labour leader of Lambeth council, said: “We welcome today’s publication of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s (IICSA) final report. Its recommendations are vital for all public institutions to ensure children are kept safe from harm.

“The report also recommends the need for comprehensive redress for those who were so very badly let down.

“Lambeth council has been calling for a national redress scheme since 2016, having launched our own compensation scheme in 2017 to acknowledge the suffering experienced by the survivors of abuse at our former children’s homes.”

More than £87m has been paid to victims by the council. Lambeth said it had issued all known victims with a formal apology, offered them counselling and provided them with independent legal representation when applying for compensation. 

Only one senior Lambeth council worker was punished over failures to deal with the 40-year child sexual abuse scandal, a report into abuse at Lambeth council children’s homes found in 2021. 

The final report into child sexual abuse published on October 20 restated the failings identified in last year’s publication.

Pictured top: Lambeth town hall (Picture: Google Street View)

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