The horrific scale of sexual abuse in the county's care homes has been revealed, with Norfolk having the second highest number of reported cases in the country.

Almost 300 allegations of abuse have been made in facilities here, just three fewer than in Hampshire, which had the most in England.

The cases involved claims of residents being sexually abused by staff, as well as by other residents, in addition to several allegations of residents abusing staff.

Almost 300 allegations of sexual abuse in Norfolk care homes have been reported to the Care Quality Commission since 2019Almost 300 allegations of sexual abuse in Norfolk care homes have been reported to the Care Quality Commission since 2019 (Image: Press Association)

It comes months after a court case shone an uncomfortable light on the issue, when a former Norfolk carer was jailed for 20 years for an attack on a woman in a care home with serious brain injuries.

The shocking new figures, which are collated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), raise new questions over the standards in Norfolk's care homes, which have struggled with soaring demand and difficulties in recruiting staff.

These have led to long-standing concerns that the performance of the county's care providers is well below the national average.

Liberal Democrat David SayersLiberal Democrat David Sayers (Image: Liberal Democrats)

Liberal Democrat county councillor David Sayers raised the issue at a recent council meeting, where he said he was "shocked" to find 295 allegations of sexual abuse had been reported to the CQC since 2019.

He said: "When a family makes the difficult decision to commit a loved one to residential care, they do so with the belief that this council will do all they can to provide provision that safeguards the individual."



Sexual abuse can include assault, harassment or verbal abuse.

When allegations are made, incidents are reported to the CQC and the police brought in, if deemed appropriate.

Many of the cases do not result in criminal action as the abuse is committed by residents whose behaviour is impaired by their conditions.

Those not investigated by the police are subject to a council inquiry.

Of the 160 reported to police since 2022, 107 involved residents and 31 staff, with the others classified as neither or unknown.

Six of the allegations led to charges.

Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquartersNorfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters (Image: Mike Page)



While Norfolk County Council does not directly run care homes, it commissions them to look after vulnerable people entitled to child and adult social care.

And County Hall has a responsibility to safeguard them. So, while police investigate the most serious allegations, the council has a role - with a lower burden of proof - of substantiating other allegations.

The council then works with care providers to improve quality, which might involve changing procedures, extra training or increasing staffing.

Alison Thomas, county council cabinet member for adult social servicesAlison Thomas, county council cabinet member for adult social services (Image: Archant)

Alison Thomas, the council's cabinet member for adult social services, said: "The number of reported notifications may not directly correspond to the number of individual incidents.

"We are pleased people feel they have a voice that is heard and they feel enable to report any incident.

"In a significant number of cases, wider issues concerning mental capacity and mental illness and cognitive decline play a significant aspect in the cases."

She said of 146 council safeguarding enquiries in the past two years, 63 had been substantiated.

She said: "All allegations of sexual abuse are examined within care environments given the vulnerable nature of people who reside in such settings.

"I would want to reassure all residents of Norfolk that adult social services has always had a focus on safeguarding vulnerable people wherever they are in Norfolk including care homes."



Officials at County Hall said Norfolk's geography and demographics - with a population which is more elderly than some other parts of the UK - contributed to the high figures.

READ MORE: Worries about surge in claims of abuse and neglect of vulnerable people

James Bullion, chief inspector of adult social care and integrated care at the Care Quality CommissionJames Bullion, chief inspector of adult social care and integrated care at the Care Quality Commission (Image: Norfolk County Council)

James Bullion, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care and integrated care and the former director of adult social care at Norfolk County Council, said: "We take all reports of sexual safety incidents in adult social care settings extremely seriously and will always take immediate action if we believe people are at risk.

"This could include making sure relevant other agencies are involved such as the police, where necessary.

"We may also review our ongoing regulatory activity and use our enforcement powers if applicable.

"There is more to do to ensure that sexual safety incidents are reported and recorded in a consistent way that allows data to be shared and investigated more easily in order to understand and address risks to people’s safety."



Jossy JosephJossy Joseph (Image: Norfolk Police)

A care home worker who sexually assaulted a resident almost 20 years ago was jailed, after he was extradited from India.

Jossy Joseph, 55, had been working at a care home in north Norfolk when he attacked a resident who had suffered brain damage when she was younger.

He was jailed for four years in September last year after he admitted sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder impending choice.

He was also put on the sex offenders register indefinitely.