LONG before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was announced, The Northern Echo was publishing interviews with former pupils of Stanhope Castle school who said the true scale of the abuse at the facility was not being made known.

One man, who said he was repeatedly raped while at Stanhope, told us: “People don’t realise what went on there. This has affected me all through my life. I want all this out in the open before I die.” Another who attended Stanhope in the mid 1970s described it as an “evil, brutal, horrible place”.

Yesterday, through the publication of the IICSA report into abuse in young offender institutions (YOIs), secure training centres (STCs) and secure children’s homes (SCHs), the full extent of their suffering is clear. And inquiry chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay finds that this is not just a historic problem. “We concluded that children in YOIs and STCs are not safe from harm, either physical or sexual,” the inquiry team said.

One of the recommendations is that a full review is carried out into whether putting children together in secure homes actually increases the risk of child sex abuse.

No-one is suggesting it is easy to deal with the vulnerable, sometimes violent, children who end up in these institutions, but the fact they cannot be kept safe from harm is a national disgrace.

It is too late for the victims who gave such devastating testimony to The Northern Echo, and the inquiry – and the many others no doubt suffering in silence.

But those in the system now, and those who will end up there in future, must be protected.