Ray Wyre, the internationally renowned sexual crimes consultant, has died at the age of 56.
The child protection expert and former social worker, who set up the UK’s first residential clinic for paedophiles, died in his sleep on 20 June.
Friends and colleagues praised his “tireless” and “pioneering” work over 30 years to raise awareness of sexual abuse against children and the need to rehabilitate offenders.
“Honest and dear friend”
Wyre’s business partner, Steve Lowe, director of Ray Wyre Independent Consultancy, paid tribute to his “honest and dear friend” of 13 years.
“There are few who have challenged perceptions as Ray did, over and over again,” he said.
“Without him, treatment programmes would have been less dynamic, and workers might have been less forthright. He fitted more into his 56 years than most would fit into 86.”
Pioneering clinic for sex offenders
In the 1980s Wyre established the Gracewell Institute in Birmingham, the first residential clinic for sex offenders in the UK.
He later helped found the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity specialising in safeguarding children against sexual abuse, and went on to train professionals all over the world.
Child psychotherapist Valerie Sinason said Wyre was “passionate” in his wish to demonstrate how “paedophiles themselves could provide the answers as to how children were targeted and hurt”.
In the early 1990s, his determined pursuit of the truth behind some of Britain’s most shocking child abuse cases brought him face-to-face with the Scottish child-killer Robert Black.
Individuals not monsters
In the subsequent book he co-wrote, The Murder of Childhood, and in other works he depicted sex offenders as individuals rather than stereotypical monsters. Marcus Erooga, the NSPCC’s professional advisor on child sex abuse, said this was key to understanding offenders’ motives.
Wyre was a frequent contributor to Community Care as a writer and speaker at conferences hosted by the magazine, and worked “tirelessly” to raise awareness of child protection via the media, Lowe said.
Heather Wing, director of regulation at the General Social Care Council, said Wyre “will be much missed as a powerful advocate for the protection of children”.
He leaves behind a wife and three grown-up children.
Ray Wyre Independent Consultancy