British School For The Deaf In Sexual Abuse

Woodford School for the Deaf in decades-long sex abuse scandal.

LONDON, United Kingdom -- BBC Newsnight documentary film: Newsnight and See Hear can for the first time name the perpetrator of horrific abuse carried out at a London (Woodford) school for the Deaf children over three decades.

The abuser was allowed to prey on the school's pupils even after he was convicted of indecently assaulting two of them, and barred by the Department for Education from being a proprietor of the school. His victims, who fought and failed to win justice, tell their story to Erika Jones.

When Deaf children are abused, they can have extra difficulties in letting people know what has happened. One incidence of abuse from an east London school for Deaf children has demonstrated the problem in a See Hear and Newsnight investigation which has named the perpetrator for the first time.

With limited vocabulary and lack of awareness, many children at Woodford School for Deaf Children tried to tell people they were being sexually abused by the husband of the headmistress, without success.

"There was a busy road with a playground and there'd be people walking past but we had no communication because we couldn't speak, we couldn't sign and they couldn't understand our voices," says James, not his real name, a pupil at the school in the early 1960s. "We'd try and write notes but our vocabulary was limited. The only word we knew was 'rude'."

It is difficult for a child to tell an adult that they have been touched inappropriately, sexually assaulted or raped. If that child is Deaf and can't speak well, or if they use sign language, then communicating even the simplest things can be a challenge...

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