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Worcestershire historical abuse allegations: St Gilbert’s school under investigation

About St Gilbert’s – St Gilbert’s, Worcestershire, was a Roman Catholic educational and correctional facility in operation between the mid-1940s and 1975. The institute housed “delinquent” children aged 11-15 years, who were typically sentenced to serve up to 3 years for petty crimes.

St Gilbert’s child abuse allegations – former youth offenders who were sent to St Gilbert’s have alleged abuse at the hands of the De La Salle order of Christian Brothers, which ran the school. Superintendent Steve Eccleston, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People, commented:

“West Mercia Police launched an investigation into abuse at St Gilbert’s
School after receiving information from the BBC and also
directly from victims of abuse at the school.“A number of people have come forward to report abuse and an
investigation is ongoing into the full circumstances
and nature of that abuse.”

What is De La Salle?

De La Salle is a Roman Catholic organisation dedicated to providing educational services to children.The De La Salle website states that over 5,000 De La Salle Brothers currently work with more than 900,000 students worldwide. Following the allegations, De La Salle released a statement:

“The order reaffirms its unreserved condemnation of abusive behaviour
and its unreserved apology to victims and their families,
along with its commitment to support them.”

History of St Gilbert’s

1945: the Home Office designates St Gilbert’s as an ‘approved’ school for Roman Catholic “delinquent” boys. The institute had been owned and run by De La Salle since 1944.

1969: ‘approved school system’ abolished. Responsibility for ST Gilbert’s transfers from the Home Office to Hereford and Worcester County Council. De La Salle continues to operate.

1975: De La Salle ceases operations at St Gilbert’s. The estate is sold to Worcestershire County Council (the school was later closed in 1986, and now serves as residential premises).

St Gilbert’s child abuse – the allegations

Joe Riley, 68, was the first to speak out about abuse at St Gilbert’s. Having been found guilty of housebreaking and vandalism, Mr Riley was sent to St Gilbert’s in 1959 at the age of 12. Whilst in the care of De La Salle, Mr Riley alleges sexual abuse at the hands of the headmaster, another Brother, and a visiting priest. Many more allegations have since been made by men who attended St Gilbert’s as children, although much of the information about these claims has not been released.

The Home Office has stated:

“If anyone has been a victim of abuse, or knows of any abuse that has taken
place at St Gilbert’s approved school, they should report it to
the police so it can be properly investigated.”

Expert legal advice from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you attended St Gilbert’s, and if you experienced any physical abuse or psychological trauma, Hampson Hughes Solicitors can help. We provide dedicated legal services in cases of abuse. Remember, your identity is protected under UK law, and we guarantee complete confidentiality.

Contact us today for a free and informal conversation about your potential claim.

Tel: 0800 888 6 888
Linked article: Operation Xeres – Staff From Ten Nottinghamshire Care Homes Face Allegations Of Historic Abuse


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