Friday, July 9, 2010

Church pays out over alleged child abuse

GRAVESEND: Church pays out over alleged child abuse
11:03am Friday 9th July 2010

By Abigail Foulkes »

THE Church of England has paid damages to a woman who claims she was forcibly drugged and sexually abused whilst in the care of a church-run children's home.

Teresa Cooper, who now lives near Chelmsford in Essex, has spent the last 18 years trying to expose the sexual and physical abuse that her and other girls suffered at Kendall House children's home in Pelham Road, Gravesend, throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

The Church agreed an out-of-court settlement but did not accept liability for the alleged abuses.

Miss Cooper, a published author of institutionalised abuse story Pin Down, said: “People need to understand that compensation does in no way undo the pain any survivor of abuse goes through.

“It doesn’t work like that.

“Many of the staff from Kendall House are walking around without a care in the world.

“I still wake up screaming.”

The Diocese of Rochester says it hopes the settlement would help Miss Cooper move on.

In a statement, it said: “In reaching the settlement, no admissions of liability were made.

“It is our fervent hope that the terms of the settlement agreed will assist Teresa Cooper move forward with her life.”

Miss Cooper came to the children’s home, which closed in 1986, just after her 14th birthday in 1981 and left when she was 17-years-old.

She told News Shopper how she was raped and repeatedly forced to take drugs such as valium and depixol over the three years she was in Kendall House, which she believes subsequently led to her and other women from the home having children with birth defects.

The mother-of-three said: “Kendall’s legacy is outstanding and its implications are enormous.

“A proper investigation into the drugs and the abuse needs to go ahead.

“They have had long-term effects not only on me but on my children, they were that strong.”

Miss Cooper’s eldest son, now 24, was born with respiratory problems, her 21-year-old son was born blind, while her 17-year-old daughter Sarah was born with a cleft palate.

On social-networking site Twitter, Miss Cooper’s daughter expressed how proud she was of her mum in her fight to expose the abuse.

Sarah tweeted: “i cant explain how proud i am to be my mothers daughter :-) if i get half the fighting spirit u have mum il be fine in life x”

Miss Cooper will continue in her campaign to get the government to carry out a review into Kendall House and hopes the church will investigate the abuses.

The 43-year-old said: “I’m hoping that the church will do the right thing for all children.

“To drug children for the sake of controlling them is abuse. To overdoes them is serious abuse.

“This and the dangerous restraining of children needs to change.

“The compensation is a step in the right direction. Atleast it is recognition of what happened.”

No comments: