Rarely, if ever, have I written more than one article on the same subject.
However, there is so much to cover in this instance a single piece would either be too short, or too long. The person in question is owed the best treatment she can be given in print considering her treatment by the State, and the Courts, has been abominable.
In order to tell this story properly we have to go back more than thirty years, to the mid 1980s. It begins in a place known as Beechwood, a children’s home in Nottinghamshire England.
Before I go any farther, it must be clear that these were not orphanages, these were institutions where children were placed by the British Government because the living conditions in their own homes were deemed as violent and dangerous. In other words, they were placed in what we would call “Safe Houses” in the States. The levels of both irony and tragedy could not be greater.
The complex was comprised of three structures all built as private residences in the late 19th Century.
They began operating as Children’s homes as early as the late 1950s.
The primary building is located at 379 Woodborough Road. Of the three that made up the complex, it is the only one still standing, the others having been demolished. Over time they changed names and were repurposed by the City Councils which ran them.
Amazingly the main unit though coed at the time and where the majority of the abuse took place, was staffed primarily by men.
To best illustrate how bad the situation was, during 1985 two fourteen year old girls would regularly “escape” to an illegal sex club in in Nottingham known as “Brummy’s” where they were sold as prostitutes. For them it was preferable to the treatment they received regularly at their place of residence.
Multiple incidents of rape of both male and female occupants by the staff have been recorded, numbering in the hundreds. Although the incidents began in the early 80s, an investigation by the Government didn’t take place until 2010 and the full extent of what took place is only now coming to light.
In addition to Beachwood, a total of 22 homes in the Nottingham area are being investigated by the Authorities.
To date there have been more than 900 allegations of abuse, 617 suspects (275 of which have been identified) only 14 of those were charged and of that number, 11 were convicted. *
This type of abuse existed not only in these homes, but within the system as a whole.
At the age of 15, Joni Cameron-Blair was taken away from her parents because she’d received a concussion after being hit by her father with the back of an axe, she was then molested at the Police Station where she was taken to be examined after being released from Hospital. The Officer forced her to strip “so the extent of her injuries could be determined” at which point he attacked her. In shock and fearful after what had occurred, she didn’t mention the incident to her Social Worker. It was after this that she was sent to Beechwood.
Shortly after arriving she was placed in a cell which had neither sink or toilet, or even a proper window.
During her thankfully brief tenure there, she witnessed regular physical assaults by the staff which included kicking, punching, and sexual abuse.
After several weeks, she was returned to her Parent’s home where she continued to suffer at the hands of her Father. Rather than risk being placed back in the “care of the State”, she ran away from home. As an adult, she became an Inspector of the facilities she had escaped from.
In the next installment, we will deal specifically with the “treatment” Ms. Shaw received during her time at Beechwood, and what occurred after she left.
*Data compiled by the Nottingham Post.
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Categories: UK Politics