Campaign plea follows actress’ Notts child sex abuse claims

Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton

A Nottinghamshire MP has renewed his plea for the launch of a national child sex abuse investigation unit, after actress Samantha Morton revealed she had been abused in one of the county’s care homes.

The actress claimed this week she had been abused during her time at the Red Tiles home, in Bulwell, as a teenager. She says that although she reported the abuse to authorities, the incidents wasn’t investigated.

Ms Morton told the Guardian newspaper that she told social workers of the abuse, but nothing was done.

She went on to say that just a few weeks after the assault, her mother took her to a police station and was then moved to a different care home.

No action was taken, she claimed.

Nottinghamshire Police said it had no record of complaints being made at that time from Ms Morton.

The Oscar-nominated actress said that she had made the revelations following the news of child sexual abuse investigations in Rotherham.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 by Alexis Jay says that ‘no one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years’ but there are estimates that around 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period.

This prompted Ms Morton to speak out about her own experiences.

Speaking about the revelations, Mr Allen said it was horrendous that people went through experiences, particularly where they should have been being cared for.

He says he has tried to contact Ms Morton with the aim of seeking her support for the setting up of a national institute where knowledge could be shared to help prevent similar incidents.

He said: “It is right that victims are supported, crimes investigated and offenders dealt with but we need to break the cycle.

“It is 24 years ago that I called upon government to create a national institute to tackle the problem of the sexual abuse of children.

“If anything it is more relevant now than any time in the intervening years when the call was ignored.

“It appeared as a Early Day Motion in the House of Commons which I extended by getting friendly MPs to add helpful amendments to draw attention to the need for a serious programme of research properly funded to help victims and reduce perpetration.

“The national institute would have been - and still can be - the organisation to coordinate work in this field by Government departments, local authorities, academics, professionals and charities to spread best practice and research throughout the UK and internationally.”

He added: “ Countless numbers of individuals could have been saved from sexual abuse had the Government listened and acted long term in 1990.

“There is a chance to listen and act now rather than have more cases brought to light in another 24 years’ time.

“I renew my call to political leaders of all parties to make the small investment now to bring about the inter-generational change in behaviours necessary to help prevent such misery.”

The subject of allegations of historical child abuse was brought up at the full council meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council yesterday.

Three questions asked for reassurance that everything was being done to keep children safe in Nottinghamshire.

Coun John Peck (Labour) said that Nottinghamshire was not complacent about child sexual exploitation and there will be a report to next Children’s Committee.

We contacted Samantha Morton’s publicist for comment but no reply had been received by the time the paper went to press.

A Nottinghamshire police spokesman said: “We have checked our files and found that there is no record of a complaint of this nature made by the individual in question to the police.

“Our Head of Public Protection has also spoken directly to her twice in recent weeks and has asked if she wishes to make a complaint so that we can begin an investigation, but she has not during either of those conversations confirmed to us that she does wish to take this matter further.

“We have been persistent in leaving numerous messages in a bid to make further arrangements for her to speak to us but as yet have not had any further contact.

“If offences have been committed then we need her to confirm that she wishes to make an allegation so that we can fully investigate this matter, not only to help her obtain justice but also to assist others who may have been victims and to protect children who may still possibly be at risk.”