ALLEGED victims of sexual abuse at care homes in North Wales have been asked to come forward to aid a fresh review into the disturbing claims.
Mrs Justice Macur is leading a review of the original Waterhouse Inquiry, which focused on claims at homes in the former council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974.
The judge is looking at whether specific allegations were not investigated and urged alleged victims and all other interested parties to give further evidence.
Operation Pallial, led by Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency, and the NSPCC have jointly rteceoved information from over 100 alleged victims since the begiunning of Novermber. The deadline for people to come forward is March 29 2013.
Justice Macur said: “To ensure I can thoroughly investigate allegations that the abuse of children in care in North Wales was not investigated in the course of the Waterhouse Inquiry I am seeking further views on the issues relating to this inquiry.
“We want to hear from as many individuals and interested parties as possible. This paper offers an opportunity for people and organisations to provide information or evidence that may help to provide some answers.”
Her review will run alongside a separate investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) that will look at the original police handling of the case and any other allegations made more recently.
The investigations follow allegations by one of the victims, Steve Messham, who said the original inquiry examined only a fraction of the claims of abuse.
That led to false child abuse allegations being made against former Tory politician Lord McAlpine.
Retired High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse was appointed to head the original judicial inquiry that examined allegations of abuse of children in care.
The three-year investigation began in 1996, sat for more than 200 days and heard evidence from 259 complainants, of whom 129 gave oral testimony.
The report noted that for the "vast majority" of them this was the first opportunity for their accounts to be publicised and "very many of them expressed satisfaction" that this was achieved.
More recently, former residents of the Bryn Estyn children’s home in north Wales have complained that the inquiry, which reported in 2000, focused too narrowly on abuse by staff within the institution.
There have been claims that boys were taken outside the home for abuse by a paedophile network.
An intensive investigation by North Wales Police began in 1991, in which about 2,600 statements were obtained from individuals and which resulted in eight prosecutions and seven convictions of former care workers.
But speculation continued in North Wales that the actual abuse was on a much greater scale than the convictions suggested.
Mrs Justice Macur will look at whether the terms of reference for the Waterhouse Inquiry were wide enough and if restrictions were placed on the inquiry to protect any individual or organisation.
She will also consider whether witnesses were prevented or discouraged from giving relevant evidence.
The Macur review, set up by Justice secretary Chris Grayling in November, has asked for all responses to be received by March 29 2013.
If you were a victim or have information that could be relevant then please contact your local police force or a victim support group such as NAPAC etc.