Socialist Worker

Report finds that Church of England could have prevented abuse at Kendall House

Issue No. 2513

Hundreds of girls were drugged and abused at a private children’s home in Kent throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

James Langstaff, bishop of Rochester

James Langstaff, bishop of Rochester (Pic: jameslangstaff.co.uk)


The Church of England ran Kendall House until it closed in 1986. A report into the home was commissioned by the Bishop of Rochester and published last week.

It found, “Girls as young as 11 were routinely given antidepressants, sedatives, and anti-psychotic medication. Often, these drugs were given in dosages which exceeded usual prescribed adult levels.”

The drugs placed them “in a constant stupor”. They also “increased their vulnerability to emotional, physical and sexual abuse”.

Concerns about the medication were raised at the time. “All were either ignored, rebuked, ridiculed or belittled.”

Concerns

Wider concerns were raised in the late 1970s and early 1980s and these “received ministerial comment”.

Police were aware of allegations of offences.

One former resident contacted Kent police in 1993 requesting an update on progress regarding an allegation they made in the early 1980s. Police said that “no further evidence was identified and they took no more action”.

The same former resident contacted police in the late 1990s and in 2000 about the allegations. It was twice decided that “no further action was required”.

In 2006 Kent police were informed of “further serious allegations by other former residents”. The Crown Prosecution Service “determined not to proceed further”.

The report said the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury delayed investigating which “hindered the identification of individuals who may have been involved in abusive activity”.


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