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Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK


Child abuse report delayed

Victims cannot have damages claims heard until report is published

A report about the 10m north Wales child abuse inquiry will not be published before MPs break up for their summer recess, it has been announced.

A spokeswoman for Sir Ronald Waterhouse, the High Court judge who chaired the inquiry, said although his report was substantially completed, it was not yet ready for submission to Parliament. This means it will probably be put before Westminster in October.

The inquiry was commissioned by former Welsh Secretary, William Hague, three years ago.

Sir Ronald finished taking evidence last year into allegations that large numbers of children were sexually and physically abused at a number of homes in the region. On Wednesday, Welsh MPs protested about the delay.

Steve Messham, chairman of the abuse survivor group, Norwas, condemned the whole situation.

'Great concern'

He suggested Sir Ronald's determination to name alleged abusers and those who may have failed to tackle them could be causing further delay.

He said 70 former residents of children's homes in North Wales could not have their claims for damages heard until the report's publication. The delay meant that process could not start until next year.

The health and social services committee of the National Assembly has pencilled in November to discuss and respond to the report.

Jane Hutt, the assembly secretary for health and social care, said it was a matter of great concern to her.

She hopes a children's commissioner will have been appointed by then, while discussion of the role that person will play will start at next week's committee meeting.

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