The government have announced plans to review its entire approach to child sex allegations, it was revealed last week. Hundreds of abuse cases could be re-opened in what has been described as an 'overhaul' of the system.
The government announcement comes in the wake of an increase in the number of allegations of historic sexual abuse in recent months; particularly the high profile cases that have dominated the national news, including of course the Jimmy Savile scandal. Hospitals, schools and numerous other establishments have all been implicated in these allegations, as well as a number of well known public figures.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer has called for such reforms and has stated that the past approach of dealing with people reporting abuse was "overcautious". Mr Starmer has called for both police and prosecutors to accept that there have been failings in the past and has warned that the UK cannot afford "another Savile moment”.
It is proposed that a scoping panel will be established to look at historic complaints of sexual abuse which were not pursued by police or prosecutors and the panel will advise Chief Constables on whether the case should be re-opened.
Mr Starmer said the Savile scandal and the number of recent "grooming” cases have proven that many victims did not have faith in the criminal justice system or the confidence to come forward to report the abuse.
Moving forward, Mr Starmer has called for an approach that is equally fair to innocent suspects and victims. The test for bringing a case should always be whether or not there is a realistic prospect of bringing a conviction, but the justice system must look more carefully at the way this is assessed.
The proposed changes to guidelines for dealing with sex abuse allegations will be open to public consultation later this year.
Here at Farleys we are experts in dealing with historic child abuse claims and have seen a large increase in the number of individuals wanting to know their legal position following recent abuse cases in the news. If you have been affected by sexual abuse, either recently or historically, and would like a free of charge discussion with a lawyer in relation to making an abuse compensation claim, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.