Sexual Abuse Claims Linked To Wisteria Lodge ‘Not Investigated Properly’ By Police

Expert Abuse Lawyers Call For Further Improvements In Handling Of Abuse Cases

07.04.2016

West Midlands Police has admitted it failed to properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse made by a woman who spent time at Wisteria Lodge, a children’s home in Coventry, in the 1980s.

An internal report into the way the complaints were handled in 1999 found that the police force’s original investigation was “poorly managed and poorly supervised” and that errors made meant two alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse died before they could be prosecuted.

The complaints made by one former resident of the children’s home, known as Sarah, were taken seriously by police when she came forward again in 2012.

Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell currently represent two individuals in civil claims against Coventry City Council, which ran Wisteria Lodge, concerning the abuse they suffered while residing at the children’s home.

Coventry City Council has announced it has commenced its own internal inquiry and has asked the local safeguarding board to carry out a review.

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Scott Tolliss, an expert abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, who is leading the cases against Coventry City Council, said:

Expert Opinion
The failings of the police are, of course, alarming and indicative of the manner in which many survivors of sexual abuse were treated in the past.

“Thankfully, the way non-recent sexual abuse claims are now being investigated appears to have changed for the better. With the introduction of many specialist police sexual offences teams across the country, survivors’ complaints are now being taken seriously and are being investigated thoroughly.

“We are glad West Midlands Police have admitted the errors made in the past. We hope that the Coventry City Council inquiry and reviews will ensure any failings identified within the Local Authority’s children’s services are highlighted and measures are taken to prevent issues like this recurring in the future.
Scott Tolliss, Other Legal Expert