Following the publication of IICSA’s report on “the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Lambeth Council from sexual abuse and exploitation” Councillor Claire Holland, Leader of Lambeth Council has released the following statement, you can view the video and transcript below.
Hello, I am Cllr. Claire Holland and I am the Leader of Lambeth council.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has now published its report about abuse of children and young people formerly in care in Lambeth.
The council of the past failed to protect many of its most vulnerable children.
The extent and scale of the horrendous abuse, which took place over many decades, remains deeply shocking.
At the time, the council failed to acknowledge concerns when they arose, often failed to believe children when they disclosed abuse and then failed to take effective action.
The council takes responsibility for creating conditions in which horrific abuse was able to take place.
On behalf of the council, I want to re-state our profound and sincere apology to all victims and survivors of abuse and neglect while in Lambeth’s care.
They were incredibly badly let down and the council is deeply sorry for their experiences.
Lambeth council also recognises that children from Black and Multi-Ethnic communities suffered disproportionately.
While accepting the clear and inexcusable failings of the council over decades, I want to make it clear that there is big difference between the council of the past with the Lambeth of today.
We set up the Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme which honours our pledge to face up to the mistakes of the past. Over 1,800 individual applications for compensation and redress have been received by the Scheme, which Lambeth council established proactively because no national scheme to provide redress for survivors has ever been formed by the Government.
We will continue to listen to survivors as we formulate our proposals to formally mark and ensure the events of the past in our borough are never forgotten.
The council recognises that there is much more to be done as part of its improvement journey and that we can never be complacent.
Lambeth today benefits from robust political and corporate leadership and governance, founded on a sound understanding of its corporate parenting responsibilities.
We believe children and young people are better cared for, better listened to and better protected in the Lambeth of today. The voice of the child is central to us – and we listen to what young people say.
Lambeth today is a different, more child-focused and positive place for young people. But we must continue to learn the lessons of the past and never forget how we failed so many.
If you have been affected by any aspect of the publication of the Inquiry Report, the council offers its support. Please visit our website to find out more.
Thank you for listening to me today.