Wigan sexual abuse victim told he waited 'too long' to complain

Council tells Wigan man it does not have records of his time in care
Council tells Wigan man it does not have records of his time in care

Watchdogs have told a Wigan man he left it “too long” to file a complaint against Wigan Council of sexual and physical abuse while he was in care.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has closed a probe into the town hall after claims that it failed to protect him from abuse while he was in care.

The man, named only as Mr J, said that he was physically and sexually abused around 30 years ago.

Mr J said he was told that Wigan Council no longer had any records of his time in care, and that the LGO would be unable to investigate.

A report published by the LGO said: “Mr J was in care some 30 years ago. He describes significant regular physical abuse by staff, and says he also experienced sexual abuse.

"He says the Council told him it no longer had records of his time in care.

“We accept that people who experienced abuse as a child may not be in a position to complain about this for many years.

“It takes time to come to terms with their experience, and to feel strong enough to challenge authority.”

“So there is a good reason why we should disapply our normal rule on late complaints, in this case.

“But we also have to be confident we could conduct a fair and robust investigation.

“The absence of records prevents this.

“And even if the relevant officers were available, we could not expect them to have accurate recall over such a long period of time. So we cannot investigate Mr J’s complaint.”

The LGO said it had considered the information provided by Mr J and discussed the complaint with him, giving him a chance to comment on the draft decision.

The ombudsman explained: “We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons.

“Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done.”