Victims of sexual abuse at a Croydon children’s home will all be given a share of tens of millions of pounds in compensation from Lambeth Council.
Lib Peck, now leader of the council, made an unreserved apology to people who were placed by the local authority into Shirley Oaks children’s home.
She announced at a conference in central London today that all who lived there will receive compensation – whether they were abused or not.
Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) published a 129-page report that included testimonies from hundreds of individuals affected by abuse.
There was widespread sexual abuse at the Wickham Road children’s home from the 1950s until 1983, the report says.
It identified 27 alleged paedophiles.
Councillor Peck said Lambeth had admitted liability for the failings and accepted every child who passed through the home had been put at risk.
She said: “This is an incredibly powerful report. It is very, very distressing to hear about the suffering – which continues today.
“This report shines a light on a period of Lambeth’s mystery that is very, very dark indeed, [which] I feel ashamed to be in any way associated with.
“As the current leader I think it falls to me to make a full and genuine apology to all of you for the abuse that you suffered because of the failings of the care system.”
The council said it has not put a cap on the amount of compensation payable as it is not yet known how many people will come forward.
Cllr Peck added: “The proposed scheme is expected to pay tens of millions of pounds to children in Shirley Oaks until it closed in the 1980s.
Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham, who has worked alongside SOSA, said all public agencies were responsible for the failings in some way.
Compensation pay-outs, for this reason, should not fall completely on the shoulders of Lambeth council, Mr Umunna added.
He said: “It is all agencies of government and they need to step up and provide funding necessary to properly compensate the survivors.”