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Girls at C of E house of horrors were drugged and abused

Girls at C of E house of horrors were drugged and abused

The Church of England was today forced to apologise ‘unreservedly’ for the cruelty meted out to Kendal House residents, an institution in Kent – now shut – in which girls were routinely drugged, locked up and physically, emotionally and sexually abused.

According to this BBC report, hundreds of girls were sent to Kendall House in Gravesend in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, before it closed in 1986.

An independent review set up by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, above, said the home was a place where “cruelty was normalised”.

It found girls were heavily sedated and placed in straitjackets. In a report the inquiry team said:

The findings are harrowing.

Drugs were administered in dosages exceeding usual prescribed adult levels to control girls’ behaviour, placing them in a constant stupor, and restricting their ability to communicate.

The review found:

The effects of the drugs also increased their vulnerability to emotional, physical and in a smaller number of cases, sexual abuse.

On at least two occasions girls were placed in straitjackets and others were threatened with transfer to a local mental health hospital, the report said.

Michael Buchanan, the BBC’s Social Affairs correspondent, wrote:

So much abuse has been uncovered in recent years, we are in danger of becoming impossible to shock. Then you read about what happened in Kendall House.
Consider this line from the inquiry: ‘We have found that every former resident…was in fact the victim of abuse.’

And: ‘Concerns about the medication regime at Kendall House were raised in the 1970s and 1980s. All were either ignored, rebuked or belittled.’

He added:

Long-term institutional abuse on young vulnerable girls was perpetuated by staff and tolerated by the Church of England.

The Rochester diocese, already in financial difficulties, is now going to pay compensation to the women they so singularly and inexplicably failed.

The consequences of the abuse however may be even more widespread than the inquiry concluded.

At least one former resident maintains the drugs forced on her led to birth defects, something the inquiry did not investigate.

Launched by Langstaff, the review chaired by Professor Sue Proctor, who led the inquiry into Jimmy Savile’s abuse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, found the abuse had led to many “broken lives”.

She described the Church’s initial response to allegations about Kendall House as “woeful” and inadequate” and said the administration of powerful drugs appeared to have an “experimental approach”.
The report said:

The evidence we have heard and read during this review tells of a place which was, on the whole, toxic and destructive to the girls placed there.

Cooper

In 2009, Teresa Cooper, above, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was given major tranquillisers, anti-depressants and drugs to counteract side-effects while in the children’s home.

The programme found ten ex-residents at Kendall House had gone on to have children with birth defects after being forcibly given cocktails of drugs, including tranquilisers, during the 1970s and 80s.

In 2010, Ms Cooper agreed an out-of-court settlement with the Church of England, which did not accept liability.

The review recommended the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury make payments to all former residents who took part in the review.

Bishop Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding for the Church of England, said:

The appalling standards of care and treatment should never have been allowed. On behalf of the national church I apologise unreservedly to all the former residents whose lives were and continue to be affected by their damaging experiences at Kendal House.

The Bishop of Dover and Canterbury, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, said the Church would act on the report’s recommendations speedily.

It is clear that we failed. We know words cannot undo the failings of the past, but I would like to echo both Bishop James’s apology to former residents of Kendall House.

Hat tip: John Dowdle and BarrieJohn

26 responses to “Girls at C of E house of horrors were drugged and abused”

  1. Broga says:

    How long, how long before people accept religion for the immoral, dishonest, dirty business that it often is and refuse to be conned by the holy verbiage that it uses to cover its behaviour.

  2. RussellW says:

    Apologise? Apologise? How can anyone apologise for those atrocities? Some staff are guilty of criminal behaviour and they should go to jail, quickly, before they’re all dead.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Regular, normal, average, intelligent, compassionate laity of the Church are reading all these same articles we atheists read. And they continue, generation upon generation, to not do what is needed to clean out the rapist clergy they tithe to. It takes a few hundred clergy to be rapists, a few thousand clergy to hide them, and a few million laity to do nothing to stop them.

    And so I do criticise the entirety of the Church, including all the regular, normal, average, intelligent, compassionate laity. May their faces burn in shame for what they do and what they do not do.

  4. Robster says:

    The churches should, as an employment program, create a position (or three) of National Apology Officers.These salespersons could travel around the country when outrageous behaviour is uncovered, which happens mostly on days ending in “y”and apologise to the victims and offer them some fresh Jesus and a mug of blood in recompense. These officers should act as really, sincerely sorry even though they aren’t, put on various airs and graces and even offer some sort of financial compensation for their various organisations gross and evil behaviour. These officers will be busy for decades and may end up helping the religious facilities regain even a smidgen of respect. Don’t hold your breath though.

  5. 1859 says:

    How can all these apologies, dripping with meaningless platitudes, mend all these broken lives? They can’t.
    If ever there was a clear example of why religious organisations should be kept well clear of ALL young people, this surely is it.

  6. barriejohn says:

    Why should Catholics have all the fun?

    You have to wonder at the naivety of the government. The NSPCC advised only yesterday (I kid you not) that it might be rather advisable if private tutors had criminal records checks before being left alone with children. Yeah – I can’t envisage ANY scenario where a disgraced paedophile teacher might set himself up as a tutor in order to abuse children, can you, because, like “men of the cloth”, they would obviously have the best interests of the children at heart. “More red tape”!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36775437

  7. Broga says:

    @barriejohn : The NSPCC is a publicity hungry outfit that latches on to any current issue where it can pretend to do something. That is how it makes money for its highly paid staff. Any problems requiring action to save children it passes on to Social Services or the police.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Broga: You could say the same thing about a lot of charities – many of which sit on massive piles of cash whilst bombarding the elderly with emotive requests for support, but that doesn’t change the facts here, IMHO!

  9. andym says:

    We will see how sincere the apology is when someone sues. After similar hand-wringing apologies, the catholic church then uses every legal tactic to stop claims being heard in court. I doubt the C of E will be much better.

  10. Smokey says:

    “So much abuse has been uncovered in recent years, we are in danger of becoming impossible to shock.”

    I’m beginning to suspect that this is deliberate on the part of the church. If enough scandals are unearthed, then we’re going to get used to it. And then we’re going to care less. We’re going to care more about yesterday’s football match than any number of abused children, as long as it happened in a religious setting.

    Not to mention that outrage doesn’t help. Nothing changes. The churches are safe in their positions of power and money. Especially in England, where the politicians fight each other for the privilege of kissing religious ass. At least they seem to kiss the asses of all religions equally.

    But we accept the notpologies, because we all think that this shit is firmly in the past. Water under the bridge. We all had that weird uncle, life must go on, and he died from a Viagra overdose anyway.

    Guess what? The new shit hasn’t been discovered yet.

  11. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I agree. I used to think charities were motivated by people who were personally committed to a particular cause. I now realise that the major charities are businesses who manipulate the public to hand over their cash. I think the donors would be amazed at the salaries the big charities pay.

    There are charities who, in my opinion anyway, deserve support. For example, the Children’s Hospice in our area has a paid executive but most of the work, including in their local shop, is done by parents, relatives or committed friends.

    This debate about charities may seem very cold till you know some of the stories of young terminally ill children and how a particular piece of equipment could help them stay at home.

  12. TO says:

    In 2010, Ms Cooper agreed an out-of-court settlement with the Church of England, which did not accept liability.

    “The Church of England did not accept liability”. WTF … so why did they settle out of court?
    To avoid media attention?
    To stop her pursuit of the case that they knew would exponentially expand into a major scandal as more victims become aware of the case.
    To shut her up?

  13. TO says:

    The CoE is working extra hard now to capture the minds of kids.

    This is on the external notice board of my local CoE Primary School alongside the newly installed large wooden crucif ix …Our Christian Value for this Week.
    “CREATIVITY”

    How is creativity a “Christian Value” lest it be the mental effort needed by hundreds of fiction writers to confect the lies of the bible?

    And inside the school is more like a religious studies centre or sunday school. The walls are festooned with religious propaganda and the works of the kids which confirms that they are having their heads crammed with godly rubbish. They even had a CoE inspection recently to confirm the school was in compliance with the diocesian requirements.

  14. Trevor says:

    Sorry OT but this should cheer people up …
    Nicky Morgan is sacked by PM May …

    In December 2015 Morgan declared that a High court ruling that religious teaching should be pluralistic, and that therefore it was unlawful to exclude teaching about atheism and humanism, should be ignored as UK religious traditions are mainly Christian. The Independent also noted that both she and her department had also ignored the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life report that Britain is “no longer predominantly Christian.”[25] The British Humanist Association, which supported the legal battle against Morgan, called Morgan’s decision to simply ignore the judgment against her “an affront to democracy”

  15. andym says:

    Oh dear! What a pity!

    Has she gone to spend more time with her delusions?

  16. barriejohn says:

    TO: When I am waiting to see my GP I read all sorts of rubbish like that in the Parish Magazine, where the vicar reports on his regular visits to local schools. I reported here some time ago how, according to him, attributes such as courage, compassion and perseverance are “Christian values”. How do they get away with it? What are the headteachers thinking? There have been numerous reports recently of the CofE stepping up its efforts to dominate the educational landscape of this country. It’s their only hope now!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/church-of-england-faith-schools-free-schools-within-four-years-a7131006.html

  17. Broga says:

    @Trevor: Not only has Nicky Morgan gone but super religious Steven Crabb has resigned in “the best interests of my family.” Recently Crabb was contending to be Prime Minister. I’m pleased to see Gove has gone as well.

  18. andym says:

    This may have something to do with Crabb’s demise. It’s behind a paywall but you get the gist.

    Another family values hypocrite.
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sex-texts-scandal-may-end-crabbs-ambitions-pvwhghww3

  19. Broga says:

    @andym: The behaviour is so blatant and likely to be exposed that I sometimes wonder if these super religious men want to be caught. Are they struggling with such religious imposed guilt that there is an unconscious need to be punished. Or maybe they just can’t keep their trousers zipped up.

    With Crabb he has gone from hero to zero in days. For a man who campaigned on the basis of family values he will not attract sympathy. Isn’t it good to have the mental and emotional freedom that atheism brings?

  20. andym says:

    I don’t think there’s any claim that it went beyond texting. But I seem to remember his book saying something about committing adultery in the heart.

  21. Peter Sykes says:

    Barriejohn:
    Some uk charities pay levels to be found here:
    http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-pay-study-highest-earners/management/article/1335060

    £300,000+ pa not unusual!

  22. Stonyground says:

    There are very few genuine charities these days. Fake charities that take taxpayers’ money have a vested interest in perpetuating the problems that they are supposedly working to solve. If you are going to donate to a charity it is best to go small and local, that way it is easy to keep an eye on how your money is being spent.

  23. Ate Berga says:

    I want an apology from their deity. Decades of abuse and, no action! Are they sure the sky dude is still alive?

  24. John says:

    Does anyone know what actual amounts of compensation have been paid – and to how many?
    How many abusive persons have seen the inside of a prison jail so far?