A damning report which revealed "extensive" child abuse in North Wales care homes has been finally published - 17 years after it claimed police officers and other professionals could have been identified as potential "perpetrators of assaults".
The Jillings Report, which focused on allegations of abuse within the council care system during the 1970s and 1980s, was compiled in 1996 but its publication was blocked by the former Clwyd County Council because insurers feared compensation claims. A heavily redacted version of the report has now been published online in the wake of fresh investigations.
The report is highly critical of the role North Wales Police took in investigating allegations involving its own officers and also claims other agencies, including the local authority, constrained its investigation by providing "limited information" and, in some cases, refusing to meet with the panel.
The report states that North Wales Police described the inquiry as its "largest investigation into child abuse" and said it resulted in 3,755 witness statements being taken with at least 24 victims identified.
The report continues: "It is clear that, in a significant number of cases, the lives of young people who have been through the care system in Clwyd have been severely disrupted and disturbed. At least 12 young people are dead. Of the many statements taken, it is unclear how many were forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration. It is also unclear how many other professionals, including police officers, were named in these statements as perpetrators of assaults."
The report says it knows of "at least three employees" in the social services department who were interviewed as part of the probe but "to our knowledge, none of them were disciplined".
The report contains what it calls "frank criticism" of individuals within the local authority; however, much of that information has now been redacted by the joint North Wales councils due to defamation fears.
The report outlined the widespread abuse of children in care years before the tribunal chaired by High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse revealed its findings.
Allegations about the abuse, centring on the Bryn Estyn children's home in Wrexham, emerged in the early 1990s, leading to the conviction of seven former care workers after an investigation by North Wales Police in 1991.
John Jillings, a former director of social services for Derbyshire, was appointed to lead a full investigation into the affair when the scope of the allegations became more widespread. North Wales Police declined to comment on the release of the Jillings Report.