Review into home after drugs claim

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Published: Friday 9th January 2015 by The News Editor

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An independent review is to be carried out into a former Church of England-run children’s home following claims that girls were given massive doses of drugs.

The Bishop of Rochester has set up the review into Kendall House in Gravesend, Kent, between 1950 and 1986 – the year it shut.

Established in the 1920s, Kendall House was a home for emotionally-disturbed girls who were mainly placed there by their local authority.

A BBC investigation in 2009 revealed that some girls who were heavily sedated while living at Kendall House in the 1970s and 1980s went on to have children with a range of birth defects.

One former resident, Teresa Cooper, accepted substantial damages from the Church of England in 2010 after alleging she was abused with doses of tranquillisers and other drugs.

Ms Cooper, who left the home in 1984 aged 16, fought a lengthy campaign to secure justice after going on to have three children who all had birth defects.

While the Diocese of Rochester reached a settlement with Ms Cooper, no admissions of liability were made, but officials said they hoped she could move on with her life.

Speaking after the settlement in 2010, she said: “The church has worked with me on an equal level, which took a long time to achieve and I’m quite happy with what they have done.

“But I would like them to investigate what happened, what went wrong and to investigate the drugs that were used that saw girls go on to have children with birth defects.

“There are lots of things the church can do and which I believe is their Christian duty to do, and I would also like a public apology at the Synod.”

The office of the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, said the independent review would look at the “management and systems” which operated at Kendall House.

Bishop Langstaff said in a statement: “It is my hope that this review will be of help in pastoral and other ways to all those who have concerns about Kendall House, and will also make clear any outstanding lessons which the Church of England and others need to learn.”

The review panel is now being put in place, and details of the terms of reference and membership will be published on the diocese website after they have been agreed.

A helpline offering independent and confidential support is being set up. Anyone wanting to take part in the review can email kendallreview@rochester.anglican.org

Published: Friday 9th January 2015 by The News Editor

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