Published: 00:00, 22 December 2016
| Updated: 12:44, 22 December 2016
The Church of England has made a payout to more than 20 women who were drugged and sexually assaulted at a home for young girls in Gravesend.
Women were given the money after contributing to a review into Kendall House commissioned by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, in January 2015, the results of which were first published in a 137-page report in June this year.
More than three decades of cruelty was exposed by the findings of an expert panel led by Dr Sue Proctor, who chaired the investigation into disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile, and a further report was published last week.
All of the former residents who contributed to both reports have now been paid, which a spokesman for the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury described as “an expression of our gratitude”.
They said: “Ex-gratia payments have been made to all of the former residents of Kendall House who participated in both the initial review and in the production of the addendum report, as recommended by the panel.
“These payments are an expression of our gratitude to the women who have had the courage to share their stories, and an acknowledgement of the pain of revisiting their trauma.
“We fully accept all of the panel’s recommendations and have already made significant progress in implementing them.”
Girls as young as nine were sent to the home in Pelham Road by both dioceses from 1947 until it shut in 1986, with it since having been turned into flats.
Residents were forcibly injected with a variety of drugs, locked in an isolation room, kept in straitjackets, given electric shock treatment at a nearby mental health hospital, and some were raped.
The panel’s review described the home as “a frightening, violent and unpredictable place to live” and issued both dioceses with a range of recommendations, including the payments and a public apology.
Kendall House Review:
Speaking after the release of last week’s report, the Bishop of Rochester said: “We are very grateful to all of the women who courageously came forward to tell their stories, and we recognise how challenging that was.
“The diocese would like to thank all of the former residents who have participated and we apologise unreservedly to them for the hurt and distress caused.”
"These payments are an expression of our gratitude to the women who have had the courage to share their stories"
Campaigner Teresa Cooper took part in the second review after turning down the first one due to a dispute over the scope of the terms of reference.
She was praised for her “relentless” pursuit of justice in last week’s report but has accused the church of attempting to “pacify the women” by paying them and described the payments as “an insult”.
Ms Cooper is also pursuing legal action against the church over birth defects suffered by the children and grandchildren of former residents.
Her daughter Sarah was born with a cleft palate. Her two sons and grandchild also have serious health issues.