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Know This

We’ve been ignoring an epidemic of child sex abuse in Britain

| May 20, 2016 at 06:43 am

England and Wales are preparing to deal with 30,000 new cases of child sexual abuse

At first sight, the figures are jaw-dropping: police in England and Wales are preparing to deal with 30,000 new cases of child sexual abuse. Reports are being passed to the police at a rate of 100 a month by the Goddard inquiry, which was set up after the exposure of Jimmy Savile. One senior officer told the Guardian he predicts that police will be investigating 200,000 cases across the country by 2020.

Some critics will regard these figures with scepticism, pointing to the botched inquiry into allegations of historical sexual abuse against a number of public figures, which has now been wound up. But the mishandling of that investigation does not mean we can ignore a mounting body of evidence that the scale of child sexual abuse is much greater than most people ever suspected.


Police child abuse investigations: 38 per cent ‘inadequate’

| July 2, 2015 at 04:23 pm

A series of inspections of police forces in England and Wales has found worrying levels of inadequate investigations into child abuse and neglect, plagued by drift and delay.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said it’s findings demonstrate an under-recognition and under-estimation of the risk to children and warns of a danger of failing a an entire generation unless there a complete re-assessment of approach.

Examples found includes a case where it took three months to interview a man whose nine-year-old grandson accused him of rape, and another where police and social workers decided the cause of vaginal bleedings in a four-year-old girl was eczema, despite the child alleging she’d been abused by a family member.


Child Abuse inquiry gets statutory footing as new panel members named

| March 12, 2015 at 07:48 am

Author of report into Rotherham abuse is one of four new members of inquiry panel, which will have power to compel witnesses to give evidence

Four new panel members, including the author of a report into sexual exploitation in Rotherham, have been appointed to the reformed independent inquiry into child abuse, the home secretary has announced.

After months of controversy about the make-up and power of the inquiry Theresa May confirmed on Thursday it was to be placed on a statutory footing “to compel witnesses to determine whether state and non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to children”.

Insurers accused of hampering child abuse inquiries

| February 24, 2015 at 07:07 am

A BBC investigation has found evidence that some local authorities in England and Wales may have allowed fear of losing insurance cover to alter their approach to child abuse inquiries.

File on 4 has also been told of cases where insurers attempted to suppress information about abuse allegations. An ex social services chief called the behaviour of one company “disgusting”.

The Association of British Insurers said the investigation “raised a number of serious matters”. (more…)

Child abuse report: Too many children still at risk

| February 18, 2015 at 07:00 am

Too many children in England are still “slipping through the net” and remain at risk of sexual abuse, a report says.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner report found there had been “considerable” progress in some areas of tackling child exploitation.

But “at the front line much work is still needed,” said Deputy Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, who headed the inquiry.

Child abuse inquiry members to face MPs

| January 20, 2015 at 06:50 am

Members of a team carrying out an inquiry into child sexual abuse are due to appear before MPs.

The inquiry was announced in July but still has no chairman, following the resignations of the government’s first two choices, and doubts remain over plans to give it extra powers.

Two members and adviser Prof Alexis Jay will face the Home Affairs Committee.

Police handling of child abuse intelligence to be investigated

| November 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

Three police forces face an inquiry over alleged failures to act on tip offs about potential paedophiles.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will examine how Essex, North Wales and North Yorkshire handled information from Canadian police passed to the UK in 2012.

Around 2,000 names were sent by Toronto Police to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

The three forces referred themselves to the IPCC for investigation.

The IPCC said it would now look at how that the intelligence – uncovered by officers from the international Operation Spade – was handled once it was received by the forces.

Photos of pupils

Essex Police faces questions over how it dealt with information relating to Martin Goldberg, a teacher who took indecent photos of his pupils.

Goldberg was found dead a day after being interviewed by the force. Police found hundreds of images of children getting changed on his computer.

CEOP had been told about the deputy head in July 2012 but he was not interviewed by Essex Police until September this year.

The IPCC wrote to all chief constables in England and Wales last month, asking them to review how they dealt with any information they had received relating to Operation Spade.

North Yorkshire and North Wales Police subsequently referred themselves to the body.

Cardiff paedophile Gareth Williams was among three names Canadian officers passed to North Wales Police in 2013. The force did not act on them for a year.

Williams was jailed for five years in May.

Delays apology

Deputy IPCC chairwoman Sarah Green said: “There is rightly considerable public concern about how police forces deal with sexual offences involving children.

“The IPCC takes this issue seriously and proactively contacted all forces and asked them to review their handling of intelligence to determine the scale of any issues.

“Our investigations will examine carefully how intelligence from CEOP was dealt with by these three forces.”

The head of the National Crime Agency (NCA) – which now encompasses CEOP – last month apologised for delays in acting on the information passed to it in July 2012.

How the agency handled that initial receipt of information is the subject of a separate IPCC probe.

BBC News obtained figures in October suggesting many forces had at that time only arrested around a third of the names among the Canadian intelligence.

North Wales and North Yorkshire were not among those that responded.

Source: BBC

Child Abuse Online: Sexual Exploitation Protection Requires Improved Policing

| November 10, 2014 at 01:41 pm

BT and Marie Collins Foundation urge changes needed to policing and education to protect children from abuse and grooming online

BT and the Marie Collins Foundation believe there is a substantial lack of training and understanding of the affects of online sexual abuse and grooming of children, and are now working to rectify this.

The pair have launched Click: Path to Protection, an initiative to bring major updates and improvements to how frontline services deal with cases of child exploitation online.

All police forces in England and Wales are involved, along with the Crown Prosecution Service, social services and more.

Detective Superintendent Paul Sanford said online child abuse had been “a hidden issue in society for far too long,” and although this is now changing, the police admits it knows “we are only identifying a fraction of the abuse that is taking place. We all need to work together to lift the lid and ask the relevant questions. We must put the victims first.”

Recognising that the internet has made it easier for groomers to make contact with children, Sanford said the police’s response to online abuse “needs to keep up with modern technology, and victims need a response from all agencies which recognises unique nature of online abuse.”

Online abuse to be policed the same as offline

“Policing of online communities is now as important as policing of the streets, and it is now hard to differentiate between them…abuse on the web is as great an evil as abuse which occurs anywhere,” the Superintendent added.

Research conducted for BT and the Marie Collins Foundation found that 95% of frontline workers want training to support victims and families in online abuse cases. Click: Path to Protection will begin as a pilot scheme initially, comprising a set of nationally agreed policies, procedures and guidelines on how to deal with victims and their families. Although costs and investment figures have not been disclosed, the initiative will be funded entirely by BT.

The message from this week’s launch is that children need to be educated about the dangers ofonline communication from the age of nine, so that as socially active 12 to 14-year olds they cancommunicate online safely.

Preventing long-term psychology damage

Marie Collins, herself a victim of sexual abuse as a child 30 years ago, spoke at the launch to address the long-term psychological damage inflicted on the victims of child abuse; she said a major concern shared by victims is where images taken of them are, and who has seen them. Tackling the anxiety and depression this fear creates in victims is a central goal of the initiative.

Collins said: “I looked at myself as a bad person [for allowing explicit photos to be taken] and I didn’t want people to know what I’d done. That awful feeling affects the whole way you interact with others – your family and members of the opposite sex…it becomes so hard to form normal relationships and it causes anxiety and, in many cases, depression where people turn to drugs or alcohol to help deal with those feelings.”

Abysmally slow

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the family of a victim of online sexual abuse and groomingblamed the police, courts and social services for treating their son “like a naughty child” and slammed the response from frontline services as “abysmally slow.”

The family said the way cases like theirs are treated has now improved, but the message shared by everyone involved with the initiative is that frontline services have been slow to react and were heavy-handed in the recent past.

Although the initiative is about how to deal with victim’s in a sensitive manner, Tink Palmer, CEO of the Marie Collins Foundation, told IBTimes UK that education must also play a fundamental part in helping children stay safe online. Palmer believes that educating children about the dangers of the internet should begin as soon as possible, and that online communications should be viewed no differently to those the child engages with offline.

Source: International Business Times

Most child abuse deaths last year were ‘avoidable’

| January 22, 2013 at 07:56 am

Nearly two-thirds of children who died as a result of abuse last year could have been saved, a damning report has claimed.

Campaigners have accused the Government of failing to protect the rights of children after they revealed that 65 per cent of child-abuse deaths in England could have been avoided. (more…)

High levels of child abuse uncovered in England

| November 22, 2012 at 08:49 am

Some 2,400 victims recorded in 14 months; 16,500 identified at ‘high risk’ of sexual exploitation

An extensive report has found high levels of child abuse in England, with more than 2,400 victims during a 14-month period that was scrutinized.

The Office of Children’s Commission interim study released Wednesday also found about 16,500 additional children are at “high risk” of sexual exploitation based on behavioural changes that were noted. (more…)