The North Wales child abuse scandal was the subject of a three-year, £13 million investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of children in care homes in the counties of Clwyd and Gwynedd, in North Wales, including the Bryn Estyn children's home at Wrexham, between 1974 and 1990. The report into the scandal, headed by retired High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC, which was published in 2000, resulted in changes in policy in England and Wales into how authorities deal with children in care, and to the settling of 140 compensation claims on behalf of victims of child abuse.
In November 2012, new allegations led to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announcing that a senior independent figure, later named as Mrs Justice Julia Macur, would examine the conduct and remit of the Waterhouse Inquiry. In addition, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced a new police inquiry into how the original allegations were dealt with, as well as an investigation of any new allegations. The broadcasting of false allegations on Newsnight on 2 November led to the resignation of the Director-General of the BBC, George Entwistle, eight days later.
The report of phase one of the police investigation, Operation Pallial, was published on 29 April 2013. It set out a total of 140 allegations of abuse at 18 children's homes in North Wales between 1963 and 1992. The police stated in November 2013 that, in the last year, over 200 people had come forward to assist their enquiries. In October 2014, the owner of several children's residential homes, John Allen, went on trial accused of 40 counts of sexual abuse against 19 boys and one girl, aged between 7 and 15, during the 1960s and 1970s.