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01 May 2024

Alex Temple comments on allegations of child abuse against Whitefield’s School

2 mins

Alex Temple, a solicitor in Bindmans’ Public Law and Human Rights team, has provided a statement in response to the BBC’s article concerning allegations of child abuse against Whitefield’s School:

We are horrified by the revelations in the press concerning Whitefield’s School. This is a special school, meaning many of the children are disabled and all have special educational needs. This makes them vulnerable to neglect and abuse, and reliant on the care and compassion of the professionals in whose
care they are placed. The allegations are truly harrowing, and it is particularly disturbing that these abuses are alleged to have taken place at one of the country’s biggest special schools. The BBC describes children being “slammed, hit and kicked” and being left alone for hours, naked, in their own urine, eating crumbs off the floor.

We understand from the BBC report that the children impacted were non-verbal, which means they cannot easily report what is happening to parents and other responsible adults.

This episode reminds us, once again, of the need for robust and continuing oversight of special schools. Not only should this prevent abuse from happening in the first place, but families are still struggling to get information from the school, police and local authority, which means they cannot know what truly happened and what will be done to put it right. We too often experience parents whose concerns are dismissed. We hope this causes safeguarding reports in school to be approached with diligence and an open mind by relevant officers going forward. Further, from our experience working with families of abused children, we know how traumatic the fight for accountability can be. We hope that the authorities surrounding Whitefield will understand that and do everything they can to bring the families quick answers and accountability for those responsible.

For more information on our Human Rights and Civil Liberties services, please see here.

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