§ Sir Fergus Montgomery
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has about the incidence of child sex abuse in local authority homes; whether he plans any new initiatives in this regard; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
Information is not available centrally on the number of child sex abuse cases occurring in local authority homes.
A number of initiatives have been taken recently or are planned, which are intended to lead to improvements in the running of homes. New procedures were introduced last year to enable local authorities to check any criminal background of those who apply to work with children. Following a special departmental inspection of some 150 community homes in England in 1984 recommendations for the improvement of practice in them were issued to local authorities. Regulations expected to be introduced this year will require each community home to have a complaints procedure. A grant of £750,000 has been made to the Open University for a project to develop improving training for residential child care workers.
Region Schemes Completed since 1979 Beds Provided Schemes completed between 1974–79 Beds Provided Northern 11 1,088 9 1,054 Yorkshire 9 1,148 11 820 3,481 Trent 22 17 2,653 East Anglian 14 2,160 7 — North West Thames 19 1,180 9 793 North East Thames 10 1,154 10 873
The Department has in hand a number of initiatives in relation to the handling of child sex abuse cases generally. These include the setting up of consultancy arrangements for agencies on training for professional staff, support of the development of such training and general guidance on inter-agency procedures for the handling of child abuse cases. This guidance which has been issued to local authorities in draft form contains a separate section on child sex abuse.