Three decades ago doctors in Cleveland, a county in the north-East of England, identified sexual abuse in 121 girls and boys. Their average age was eight.
Official Secrets reveals that the enquiry that followed was a cover-up. Confidential documents and correspondence in the National Archive prove that the government knew that most diagnoses were believed to be correct, but ministers withheld the explosive evidence. Parliament and the people were led to believe that there had been a scandal and that scores of children had been wrongly seized from innocent parents.
Doctors were discouraged and social workers disempowered - a legacy that leads all the way to the current Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The response to Cleveland controversy defined an era of scepticism and blame, and not the protection of children.
The Cleveland crisis 1987 - the sequence of events;
A crisis of detection: looking and seeing;
The politics of the orifice: sign language;
The inquiry: strategies of not asking and not-telling;
Secret Dossiers: questions asked and answered;
What happened to the Diagnosis? Vindication;
The Poppi Worthington story - a classic case;
Creating a climate of disbelief;
Back to the future: the road from Cleveland to IICSA - a crisis for the Establishment.
"A significant milestone in national and global narratives on child sexual abuse … offers much needed insight whilst the nation's Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse carries out its work…. a game changer" Natasha Phillips, Researching Reform
"Will ignite new debates and change perspectives: it insists through presenting new evidence that we consider whether this was a deliberate 'cover up' and whether the doctors were right in their diagnoses." Liz Kelly, London Metropolitan University