Friday, 13 February 2015

Update on Abuse Scandal in Wigan!

In my Blog last November, I raised the subject of the Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse Scandal facing Wigan Council regarding the Wood End facility at Atherton.  There are two comments from members of the public in reply to my Blog who claim that they were abused - both have been informed that their personal records had been lost and both have given statements to Operation Milan, details here:

Since then, the BBC have focused on this story a great deal, resulting in Donna Hall, Chief Executive of Wigan Council being forced to come out today and issue her 'profuse apologies' on behalf of Wigan Council .  It is only as a result of the extensive media coverage that the Council have even bothered to acknowledge or apologise for the abuse that occurred under their noses!

The Wood End facility in Atherton was opened by Lancashire County Council in 1969 as a remand home for boys aged between 10 & 17 years of age. In 1974, Wigan Council took over the running of the home until finally it was closed in 1994.  Since it's closure, three Police Investigations have taken place.  Greater Manchester Police are now investigating more than 40 complaints of Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse at the centre - two people have been interviewed under caution and three others are due to be questioned.

When the allegations of Historical Abuse first surfaced, they were hushed-up - it has taken all this time and Operation Milan - which is also covering the Cyril Smith Abuse Investigation at Knowl View - to finally come to the public attention.  Lord Peter Smith has been the Leader of Wigan Council since 1991 - therefore it follows that some of the abuse probably occurred under his watch.  A senior official at Wigan Council has confirmed to me that all the way through the allegations and Police Investigations that Lord Peter Smith has been aware of things - yet still said or did nothing.  Therefore the Leader must go and go now!  His time is up - he has quite simply let these victims down - both they and the people of Wigan Borough deserve better!

I have spoken with other opposition Councillors and group and they all support me in calling for - first an Extraordinary Council Meeting and secondly for an Independent Investigation of Wigan Council - if the Council refuse this we will simply ensure we get enough signatures in order to then call for an Extraordinary Council Meeting under the Constitution rules.

This story regarding Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse is not about to go away anytime soon - we owe it to the victims of abuse and their families to secure an Independent Investigation.

1 comment:

  1. I was at Woodend in 1977 the only lad from Northampton, I cant remember the names of the staff but I echo all of the above regarding the treatment I received. My life has never been the same since and I have been in and out of mental hospitals all my life. I am shortly about to visit a Nurosurgeon for a suspected brain injury which is undoutable due to having my head smashed against the black board in maths class. No Dr was called and I received no medical attention even though I was knocked unconscious for over 24 hours. I was just a innocent child at the time and was supposed to be under their care, if this was their idea of care then I would hate to see how they treated their own children.

    I went to Manchester Police and became part of the on going investigation but I have now heard just this week that they are not taking my case any further because of lack of evidence. I have got evidence of my stay including my original assessment form but all I knew was the maths teacher who was there in 1977 was the one who smashed my head against the blackboard even though my records documented that I was an epileptic. He was only one of the abusers that I encountered, but I was told that all the records for the period were lost (probably destroyed as they didn't want any of this to come out)

    I want all my abusers bought to justice for the abuse, mental, physical and sexual that I and many other boys suffered under Woodends sick regime.

    Since my case has now been dropped I will be trying to contact as many fellow abused victims as to not let this go and take it as far we can. The more of us that fight on we stand a good chance to put closure on this awful part of our lives and allow us to move on. A good start would be an apology from Wigan Council for their negligence in allowing this treatment and abuse to continue for many years until the closure of the unit.

    If anyone wants to contact me regarding this then please drop me an email on [ Email address removed for personal security - please contact and then I will pass messages on.]


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