The Church of England has apologized after a report was published exposing the physical and sexual abuse of hundreds of girls over a 20-year period at a church-run children's home.
"The findings of the independent review into Kendall House describe the harrowing regime experienced by numerous girls and young teenagers who were placed into the care of this Church of England home," said Bishop Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding for the Church of England, on Wednesday. "The appalling standards of care and treatment should never have been allowed and on behalf of the national church I apologise unreservedly to all the former residents whose lives were and continue to be affected by their damaging experiences at Kendall House."
The 147-page report reveals that hundreds of the girls were drugged, locked up, and physically and sexually abused at the church-run home during the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
The report explained that the girls placed at Kendall House who suffered this abuse came from "the most difficult and deprived backgrounds," with their parents being unable to offer them the loving homes that they needed.
"The conditions at Kendall House were such that every resident placed there was vulnerable to the risk of being emotionally, physically or sexually abused by the staff, other residents or third parties," the findings by the inquiry team stated.
"Indeed, we have found that every former resident to whom we have spoken and every former resident whose file we have read was in fact the victim of abuse of one, some or all those categories."
David Greenwood, of Switalskis Solicitors, who has represented 15 survivors of abuse at Kendall House in compensation claims, said in an article for The Guardian: "I have been truly shocked at the way in which staff at Kendall House handed out heavy doses of drugs designed to treat schizophrenia to young teenager girls. Many of the ladies I have represented have suffered poor-quality lives as a result of this treatment. Many have been sexually assaulted and most were physically abused."
Greenwood added that it was only when the Home Office inspectors began advising the church did officials change the way they used such drugs.
The report came up with a list of recommendations to all relevant national church bodies. It called for an apology not only for the abuse uncovered, but also for the length of time it took for an investigation to be conducted, given that concerns have been raised over Kendall House since the 1990s.
The recommendations also call on the CofE to take all measures to make sure children and young people are safeguarded in the future, and that outgoing and incoming bishops prepare confidential risk-based documents on such matters.
Butler promised that the considerations outlined in the report will be "examined carefully and there is full commitment to ensuring that this leads to the best possible implementation." He added that findings will be "shared with senior staff, including all diocesan bishops, across the whole Church."
BBC News Social Affairs correspondent Michael Buchanan warned that so much abuse has been discovered in the Church over the years, that there is a danger of society becoming "impossible to shock."
"The Rochester diocese, already in financial difficulties, is now going to pay compensation to the women they so singularly and inexplicably failed," Buchanan analyzed.