London [UK] July 28 (ANI/Xinhua): Hundreds of children in the care of Lambeth Council in south London were subjected to levels of cruelty and sexual abuse that were "hard to comprehend" for several decades since 1960s, a report released Tuesday has found.
The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse found 705 allegations of sexual abuse against staff members and individuals connected with three care homes in the borough.
Victims' accounts of sexual abuse include being photographed whilst being raped. One child was found dead in 1977 in a bathroom at Shirley Oaks, one of the three care homes which closed in 1983. Lambeth Council did not inform the coroner that he had allegedly been sexually abused by his "house father".
"The true scale of the sexual abuse against children in Lambeth's care will never be known, but it is certain to be significantly higher than is formally recorded," the report said.
Over the course of 40 years, only one senior member of staff was disciplined by the Council for roles in this catalogue of sexual abuse, the report noted.
"These children became pawns in a toxic power game within Lambeth Council and between the Council and central government," said Professor Alexis Jay, chair of the inquiry.
According to the report, Lambeth Council had a culture "dominated by politicized behavior and turmoil" during the 1980s, when "bullying, intimidation, racism, nepotism and sexism thrived within the Council, and all against a backdrop of corruption and financial mismanagement." (ANI/Xinhua)