Bishop of Rochester extends inquiry into abuse at girls’ home, Kendall House in Pelham Road, Gravesend

02 September 2016
by Tom Acres
Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, commissioned a review into
Kendall House in Pelham Road, Gravesend, last year and the results were
released last month.
An expert panel
chaired by Sue Proctor, who also led the investigation into matters
connected to disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile, compiled a harrowing 137-page
report documenting more than three decades of cruelty at the home.
Mum-of-three Teresa Cooper suffered years of sexual, physical and enforced drug abuse at Kendall House.
residents provided memories and evidence, but the review will now be
extended to provide an opportunity for those who did not take part to
share their experiences.
Dr Proctor
said: “The review panel welcome this extension and would like to
encourage any former residents from Kendall House who as yet have felt
unable to talk to us to get in touch.
“We will be glad to meet them, and listen to their accounts in confidence.”
Dr Proctor on the panel are part-time judge Samantha Cohen and former
police detective superintendent Ray Galloway, who also worked on the
Savile investigation.
Their initial
report on Kendall House, which opened in 1947 as a home for young girls
under the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury, revealed it to be “a
frightening, violent and unpredictable place to live”.
Sue Proctor, who is on the Kendall House Review panel
also stated that “control, containment and sometimes cruelty” became
“normalised” at the home, and that young girls were robbed “of their
individuality, of hope, and in some cases their liberty.”
Campaigner Teresa Cooper spent years fighting for the review and last month said “some justice had been served” by its findings
However, she did not take part due to a dispute over the terms of reference.
is also pursuing another legal claim against the church in a bid to
secure damages for up to 25 children who it is claimed suffered as a
result of drug use at Kendall House.
The former Church of England children’s home in Pelham Road, Gravesend
Ms Cooper’s daughter Sarah, 23, was born with a cleft palate. Her two sons and grandchild also have serious health issues.
to news of the extension, she said: “I am shocked because I did not
know that it was going ahead. They have been liaising with my solicitor
for a couple of weeks and we didn’t know.
are women meant to take part if they don’t know? My solicitor
represents several of us that didn’t take part in the first place and we
have not had it confirmed to us with only a few days left before it

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