CHARITIES which support victims of child abuse have reacted to a damning report into a North Yorkshire Catholic school.

The Independent Inquiry Child Sex Abuse report into Ampleforth and Downside Abbeys, released on Thursday, said there had been a history of covering up abuse at Ampleforth going back decades, with "prioritisation of monks and their reputations over the protection of children".

Dani Wardman runs Survive - a York based charity which set up a dedicated phone line to help those abused at Ampleforth - and said the public should be shocked that "adequate safeguarding has still not been achieved".

She said: "Improvements have been made and the vast amount of these have taken place in the last few years, particularly with the motivation of the IICSA enquiry. But sadly the report does state there is still a distance to travel before safeguarding is truly robust.

"A call has been made for ‘no more victims’ but we are a long way away from this, robust process absolutely need to be in place but a culture of belief needs to be instilled to ensure victims feel confident to come forward. Perpetrators will always be attracted to institutions that hold power and vulnerable people."

Dani said male victims often took much longer to come forward, and one of the main ways children were kept silent was by being told they wouldn't be believed, and to move forward was "as simple as saying we will believe you, repeatedly and often".

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: "The harrowing evidence within this report paints an awful picture of abuse and betrayal of trust within institutions which should have been protecting every child in their care. The survivors who have spoken out have shown incredible bravery and it’s vital that lessons are learned and all recommendations acted upon.

"Any allegations of physical and sexual abuse must always be thoroughly investigated and victims should always have confidence they will be listened to and action will be taken when they come forward. Safeguarding measures are vital in all institutions to prevent reputations being prioritised above the victims of abuse."

The report also offered criticism and praise for North Yorkshire Police after their attempts to investigate the school.

*Anyone concerned about a child’s welfare should call the NSPCC on 0808 8005000, anyone who suffered abuse at Ampleforth as a child can phone Survive on 0808 145 1890 or find out more at