Girls at a Church of England children’s home were physical, emotionally and sexually abused, an independent review has found.
A report, published today, found that girls who attended Kendall House, in Gravesend, Kent, at the were sexually and physically abused, drugged and kept in straitjackets between 1967 and 1986 when it was closed.
During this time over 300 girls between 10 and 16-years-old were placed in the home by court orders, social services or by mental health services.
The horrifying revelations were discovered by an independent review, which was set up by the Bishop of Rochester.
Former residents and staff were interviewed during the review, with many accounts recalling the fear in which the children lived at the home.
Children at Kendall House were administered drugs in dosages exceeding levels normally prescribed to adults in order to control the girls’ behaviour, restricting their ability to move and communicate.
The review stated: “Girls as young as 11 were routinely and often without any initial medical assessment, given antidepressants, sedatives and anti-psychotic medication. Often, these drugs were given in dosages which exceeded usual prescribed adult levels.
“The effects of the drugs also increased their vulnerability to emotional, physical and a smaller number of cases, sexual abuse.”
Dr Marenthiran Perinpanayagam, who prescribed the medication to the children, died in 1988, having retired in 1983.
The Church of England has apologised. Bishop Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding for the Church of England, said: The findings of the independent review into Kendall House describe the harrowing regime experienced by numerous girls and young teenagers who were placed into the care of this Church of England home.
“The appalling standards of care and treatment should never have been allowed and on behalf of the national church I apologise unreservedly to all the former residents whose lives were and continue to be affected by their damaging experiences at Kendall House.
“There are serious lessons to be learnt from this review both at diocesan and national level to ensure that this never happens again.”