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Child abuse survivors and the criminal justice system

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions announced today that there will be a full scale review into the way abuse cases are prosecuted, to make it fairer to the victims of these horrendous crimes and in an attempt to bring more perpetrators to justice. http://news.sky.com/story/1060589/savile-new-moves-to-tackle-child-sex-abuse

Jonathan Wheeler, partner and child abuse solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp, said:

“If the legacy of those who have survived the Savile scandal is worth anything at all, it must lead us to a multi-lateral commitment to bring those responsible for past and current child abuse cases to justice – and to do what we can to prevent them from occurring in the future.

“Too many times, when child abuse cases come to court, it is the survivor of the abuse who comes away feeling worse and complaining that they have been forced to re-live events in a painful and humiliating way. The experience is off-putting and a significant number of abuse survivors choose not to speak out because they know this. Anything that can be done to make such hearings less one-sided by allowing more evidence about the accused to be considered by the judge, would create a fairer system and could encourage more survivors to seek justice and bring claims.

“We need to change more than just the criminal justice system, however. To prevent another ‘Savile’, we must step up resources for children in care to ensure they are protected from abuse and their needs are met by well-trained, professional staff. More training is also needed for judges, lawyers, police officers and teachers to ensure they are equipped to handle these sensitive cases appropriately and fairly.”

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