Care home abuse probe

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POLICE are investigating 30 complaints of abuse dating back decades at a former Wigan borough children’s home.

The attacks on youngsters at the long-defunct Woodend Assessment Centre in Atherton are alleged to have taken place between the 1970s and 90s.

The inquiry, dubbed Operation Milan, has now been merged with other Greater Manchester abuse probes including that into Knowl View School in Rochdale where the late MP Cyril Smith is alleged to have attacked youngsters.

Det Chief Supt Russ Jackson from GMP’s Serious Crime Division, said: “The investigation into abuse at Knowl View School continues and since the start of the inquiry 24 victims have come forward.

“These are serious complaints made against both staff and pupils at the school and we have a team of experienced detectives working on the case.

“The passage of time makes these investigations difficult and complex but we are committed to supporting victims who now have the strength to come forward as best as we can.

“I would encourage anyone who was a victim of either sexual or physical abuse to come forward and speak to police as the more evidence we have the better the chances are of bringing abusers to justice.

“We completely understand that for many people they will not want to relive the abuse they suffered, but for those who do want to come forward I want to give you complete confidence that your complaints will be treated seriously and thoroughly investigated.

“Greater Manchester Police takes allegations of abuse very seriously and continues to do so and if anyone has been a victim of abuse, we ask them to contact us.”

Anne Goldsmith, Wigan Council’s director of children and young people’s services, said: “Woodend Assessment Centre was closed in 1994. It had previously been used by a number of councils who sent children there for assessment. We are committed to working closely with the police on any historical abuse allegations which may arise and will use the knowledge and understanding we now have to respond appropriately.”