For years, children in care in North Wales were abused and beaten by those charged
with their welfare. Some social workers turned a blind eye. Others were part of
a more sinister conspiracy of silence. Thankfully, one woman was not prepared to
look the other way - even though her complaints about the abuses she had witnessed
cost her her job.
Alison Taylor was sacked as head of a Gwynedd care home in 1986 after taking her
concerns outside the closed ranks of the North Wales care system. When she took
her former employees to an industrial tribunal, she found her own name had been
blackened and she had been labelled "a subversive."
A police inquiry drew a blank and the abuse continued. Shocked by what she had seen
and heard, Alison, 55, was determined that justice would be done. And after a 15-year
battle, she finally saw the abusers exposed and 25 of them convicted.
When her complaints were ignored in 1986, Alison wrote to the North Wales Police,
the Crown Prosecution Service, the Welsh Office and even to Margaret Thatcher. In
1991 she compiled a dossier of 75 allegations which resulted in a second police
Again there were no convictions. Still Alison did not give up. In 1996 four men
were jailed for physical and sexual assaults on boys in the neighbouring county
of Clwyd and a full investigation was ordered.
The North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was finally opened in 1997. Its findings revealed
the biggest child-abuse scandal Britain has ever witnessed. Some 200 people were
named by 129 victims, although the number of children affected is thought to be
in the region of 650 across 40 children's homes.
The report, chaired by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, stated that without Alison's campaigning
there would have been no inquiry. Alison says, "At times I felt I was a lone voice
in the wilderness. But I was never going to quit. At last, these evil men -- have
been dragged into the open."