By John Pring.
Gibson Square Books
How did Gordon Rowe manage to go undetected for 10 years as he raped, abused, sexually assaulted and stole from people with learning difficulties in the homes he ran?
The answers John Pring gives are satisfactory up to a point. Yes, Buckinghamshire County Council’s inspectorate was lethargic and neglectful; the police were compromised by socialising with Rowe; and a GP strangely saw nothing, while the General Medical Council has refused to investigate. But one puts down this book asking why none of the parents, some of whom had suspicions, did anything. It appears extraordinary that many of the staff, inexperienced and unqualified as some were, did not know what was going on.
Pring draws many unverifiable conclusions from Longcare – for example, institutional abuse is rife – but he is very good on the trauma which victims suffered, which is something rarely focused on for this group of people.
He has written an angry book which will make its readers angry, but it is one which begs too many questions.
Terry Philpot is editor (with Linda Ward) of Values and Visions. Changing Ideas in Services for People with Learning Difficulties.