I understand that, as of 24th July 2013, Devon County Council is carrying out an Inquiry into allegations of historic abuse of young people in the council’s care who were placed at Langton House in Dorset.
According to Mr Roger Hall, a senior official in the council’s Social Services Department, they are contacting survivors of Langton House, described as an “Adolescent Psychiatric Unit” and run by a private company called AMI plc. AMI operated the unit in the 1970’s and 80’s until it closed in 1993.
According to Dorset Health Authority records at the time, it was in fact registered as a Nursing Home. Devon County Council were one of the largest user authorities of Langton House. Following complaints to the National Association of Young People in Care (NAYPIC) by young people of the extreme violence and brutality of the regime there, Dorset Health Authority carried out a brief, secret inquiry in early 1990 and concluded that there was nothing to investigate. It did not interview any of the residents or past residents or NAYPIC during this “Inquiry”.
Following this, NAYPIC published its own report called “Therapy of Fear” highlighting the extreme abuse and misuse of drugs as “therapy”, including the abuse of both physically and mentally handicapped people who had been inappropriately placed there.
Following a question from Mrs Rosie Barnes MP in the House of Commons in 1991, the then Minister for Health, Mrs Virginia Bottomley, confirmed that former residents of Langton House would not be allowed to give evidence. I understand that even at the time Devon County Council were concerned about the lack of response from AMI in response to their enquiries.
I understand Mr Hall has assured the leader of the survivors’ group that they will look at the allegations of abuse, missing young people and what he described as the unexplained deaths of three young people there. NAYPIC had expressed concerns in its report at the extremely high death rate amongst survivors of this regime and concern for young people who appear to have disappeared, their whereabouts unknown to their local authorities.