Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight serious case review shows 'decades of abuse'

Children in one family suffered decades of sexual abuse because the authorities were in fear of a "volatile" father, a review has found.

The Isle of Wight safeguarding children board published the report into an anonymous family, named as Q.

It said the "volatile, aggressive and manipulative" father's influence was a "most pervasive factor" in the case.

Reports of sexual abuse were made to the authorities on 35 occasions when no subsequent action was taken.

A family member, who was not a parent - referred to as Y - was eventually convicted of sexual abuse against one of the children.

'Sold for sex'

The report said: "Over many years there were allegations that one or more or the children were... subject to a highly sexualised environment, or sexually abused or at risk of such abuse, either through parentally uncontrolled access to a high risk individual, or by a family member."

The authorities dealt with in the report are Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire Constabulary, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, two GP practices under the Isle of Wight NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and Hampshire Probation Trust.

The review said the father instilled "real fear" in social workers and police officers, with one commenting "[the father's] volatility and anger were such that I felt in real danger, as did my colleagues".

Two of the children made allegations of a sexual nature against X, a non-family member who died in 2003.

The report said: "Even if the allegations about X were not true, the children's graphic accounts would suggest a sexualisation [at five and under]."

One of the children alleged they had been "sold for sex" to X.

'Abused for years'

Reports of abuse by Y were also rife in relation to one child - R - who at one point showed genital bruising.

The father changed his story about the cause and it emerged R had spent the previous weekend with Y.

When incidents of domestic violence, referrals from neighbours, complaints from the children and allegations from one parent were considered there at least 35 occurrences which did not lead to any formal action.

The chair of the Isle of Wight safeguarding children's board, Maggie Blyth, said: "The failure of the authorities to work together, coupled with the dysfunctional nature of the family and intimidating and challenging behaviour of the father meant the abuse continued for many years."

In 2013, the children - details of whom were obscured to prevent their identification - were made subject to a full care order.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said recommendations in the report were being implemented.

No disciplinary action has been taken within the police in relation to the findings.

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