Investigation into reports of abuse at Hill End Hospital - St Albans
Issued by Hertfordshire Constabulary
Hertfordshire Constabulary is conducting a criminal investigation into reports of physical and sexual abuse against patients who were at Hill End Hospital Adolescent Unit, St Albans, between 1969 and 1995, when the facility closed. At this stage the full scale of the investigation and the number of victims involved is unclear.
We are appealing for anyone who may have any information relevant to the on-going investigation to make contact with us. Web pages dedicated to Op Meadow went live on the Constabulary’s website today (Thursday), which provides details about the investigation and outlines the range of reporting options available and the support services that can be accessed. The website also includes links to partner agencies that can provide support.
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said: “Hertfordshire Constabulary takes all reports of child abuse seriously, no matter how long ago the offence may have occurred. We have officers who are specially trained to deal with these type of crimes while supporting victims in a sensitive, empathetic and caring manner.
“Those who believe they have been a victim of this type of abuse are encouraged to make contact with police by calling 101, using our online reporting option through the Op Meadow web pages, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”
Publicity supporting investigations into non-recent allegations of child abuse has the potential to impact on adults who may themselves have been victims of abuse. Hertfordshire Constabulary recognises this and has worked with partners to put into place measures to provide support to those who feel they may need it.
Specialist police officers are ready to deal with the reports and to contact victims if a police response is asked for. Understandably, some people may want the support that is offered by non-police organisations that will have access to specialists who are trained and experienced in dealing with the long term effects that victims may be living with.
A joined up approach with our NHS partners, support agencies and charities will ensure that all those who make contact, in whatever capacity, will have access to the help that they need.
A central email - firstname.lastname@example.org - has been set up in order to receive any referrals and to answer queries. This email address will be monitored seven days a week and specialist officers aim to be in contact with any reporting person within 72 hours of their initial contact. (Please note this email is for use by members of the public in relation to Hill End and should not be used by the media)
Those who wish to make a report anonymously can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
For additional help people can contact their GP or Samaritans on 116 123 or www.samaritans.org.