Learning the Lessons: Operation Pallial

12 January 2015

A report published today (12 January 2015) by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales will attempt for the first time to identify emerging lessons that any future operation could learn from.

The report also examines the implications of Operation Pallial for children and young people in care settings.

In November 2012, Operation Pallial was set up to examine specific allegations of past child abuse in north Wales. This report looks at the early processes established by OperationPallial, including communications work, support for survivors, transition and the implications on children in present care settings in Wales.

Critically, it also presents the views of a small sample of survivors to help form the basis of a number of learning points for future investigations.

They cover areas including:

  • the impact of social and broadcast media on survivors, issues in relation to survivors’ court experience,
  • the need for a dedicated social worker be appointed to any future investigative team to assist with survivor-handling issues; and
  • consideration around the impact of such large-scale inquiries on a limited number of organisations who provide specialist counselling, at a time when there’s considerable demand generally.

Speaking about the report, Keith Towler, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said:

“When I was asked by Operation Pallial to coordinate this work a critical element for me was to seek the views of survivors. I wanted to hear first-hand their experiences, as well as the opinions of professionals involved in the Operation, to enable me to draw up a series of robust learning points.

“I was fortunate enough to speak with four survivors who provided an honest account of their experiences and offered some constructive criticisms, which will be of some guidance to future investigations.

“From the outset I have been impressed with how Operation Pallial has successfully managed a survivor-led inquiry. I hope this publication will be the first in a series which will enable those leading the various past child abuse inquiries now underway to listen to the views of more survivors, and to ensure they all become survivor-led inquiries.”