Secrets and Silence: Uncovering the Legacy of the Cleveland Child Sexual Abuse Case (2023)

The child sexual abuse scandal in the English county of Cleveland in the 1980s was a defining moment but not the scandal we were led to believe it was. Acclaimed journalist Beatrix Campbell has uncovered government documents that show how medical evidence of childhood rape identified by pioneering paediatricians was deemed credible but ‘dangerous’ – it was more important to save money than save children.

This book reveals how this secret has framed policy making and public opinion and the consequences it has had for children, professionals, justice and the state.

The deaths of ‘national treasures’ Sir Jimmy Savile and Sir Cyril Smith led to a torrent of evidence of childhood suffering, the discovery of widespread sexual exploitation and institutional abuse across the world – all in plain sight. The Cleveland children have remained in the shadows.

Now, for the first time, a Cleveland child delves into her records and shares her story.