This Library Paper looks at Government plans to regulate harmful content online.
The proceedings of this debate can be watched on parliamentlive.tv
The Macur Review
In 1996, an inquiry was established, led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, into allegations of sexual abuse of children in care across North Wales dating back to 1974. The resulting report, Lost in Care, was published in 2000. It concluded that, ‘widespread sexual abuse of boys occurred in children’s residential establishments in Clwyd between 1974 and 1990’ and that there was a paedophile ring operating, but no reference was made to any abuse being carried out by nationally prominent individuals.
The announcement of the Macur Review came in the midst of allegations surrounding sexual abuse committed by Jimmy Savile and the role of the BBC in failing to prevent it. The introduction to the Review’s report states that the media interest around the Savile case created the context for allegations against other ‘establishment’ figures to be aired and resurrected disquiet that had followed the publication of the Waterhouse report with regard to the involvement of prominent public figures in the abuse of children, who had escaped exposure and public censure due to their standing in society. [Macur Review, 1.2-4]
On 6 November 2012, the Home Secretary, Theresa May announced that Keith Bristow, then Director General of the National Crime Agency, had been asked to assess recent allegations received, review the historic police investigations and investigate any further allegations reported to the police regarding abuse in North Wales care homes. She announced that in addition, the Government would ask a senior independent figure to examine whether the Waterhouse Inquiry, ‘was properly constituted and did its job.’
On 8 November 2012, the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, announced that Mrs Justice Macur DBE, a High Court Judge of the Family Division, had been appointed to lead a review of Sir Ronald Waterhouse’s inquiry. The terms of reference for the Macur Review were:
To review the scope of the Waterhouse inquiry, and whether any specific allegations of child abuse falling within the terms of reference were not investigated by the Inquiry, and to make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Justice and the Secretary of State for Wales.
The Report of the Macur Review was laid before Parliament on 17 March 2016. The report concluded that there was:
No reason to undermine the conclusions of the [Waterhouse] Tribunal in respect of the nature and scale of abuse. Neither is there evidence of the involvement of nationally prominent individuals in the abuse of children in care in North Wales between 1974 and 1996. Consequently, I do not recommend the establishment of a further public or private enquiry or review.
In a statement to the House on 17 March 2016, the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, welcomed the report saying that the Government accepted Lady Justice Macur’s findings. He explained why some names in the Macur Review report have been redacted, including, for example where police investigations may be compromised.
Sir Ronald Waterhouse, Lost in care, report of the tribunal of inquiry into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974, 16 February 2000
Lady Justice Macur, The Report of the Macur Review, (redacted) 17 March 2016
The Macur Review website on GOV.UK
Statements to the House
Macur Review [HC Deb 17 March 2016 c1108]
Child Abuse [HC Deb 7 July 2014 c23]
Letter from Home Secretary to Elfyn Llwyd MP responding to points raised in response to the statement regarding sexual abuse of children and the Government’s response [DEP2014-1161]
Justice: Waterhouse Inquiry [HC Deb 8 Nov 2012 c44WS]
Selected Media Articles
BBC News, Macur review: ‘No reason’ to undermine abuse inquiry findings, 17 March 2016
BBC News, North Wales child abuse scandal: Victims speak out, 17 March 2016
BBC News, North Wales child abuse scandal: The road to Macur, 17 March 2016
BBC News, Macur review: Abuse victim disappointed with findings, 17 March 2016
ITV News, NSPCC ‘surprised’ at lack of Macur recommendations, 17 March 2016
Debate packs are intended to provide a summary or overview of the issues being debated and identify any relevant briefings including press and parliamentary material. A more detailed briefing may be prepared for a Member on request to the Library.
A Commons Library briefing on the financial resilience of local authorities.
The next quinquennial Armed Forces Bill is due in 2021. In 2017 the Ministry of Defence commissioned a review of the service justice system in preparation for the Bill. This paper explains what the Service Justice System is, the main outcomes of the review and the Government’s response.