The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has called for urgent changes to be made to the services provided to children.
She feels that children who have suffered sexual abuse are being let down. The Children’s Commissioner’s department has released three reports looking at, “how child sexual abuse is investigated, the role of schools in preventing abuse and things to be learned from survivors.”
The reports consider the issues that often abused children are left to report the abuse they suffer themselves, investigations into sexual offences against children tend to take an average of 100 days longer than those against adults and the lack of counselling offered to children as their case proceeds to Court.
Research was undertaken by the University of Bedfordshire and the NSPCC who spoke in confidence to children between the ages of 5 to 19 years old who had suffered abuse in a family setting. The research showed that the majority of children feel abandoned and find having to give video evidence about the abuse they have suffered harrowing.
It has been shown that whilst most teachers feel confident about being able to recognise signs of abuse, however, they failed to prevent incidents from occurring by not educating children on how to report abuse and seek help.
It has also become apparent from information received from the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service that the increase in the number of reported offences is putting, “a strain on the justice system.”
Anne Longfield is looking at the Islandic approach to investigating abuse. She has stated, “It is clear from this research and the heart-breaking stories told by young people within it, that many child sexual abuse victims are being let down by the system. Professionals remain dedicated to supporting the victims of abuse, but urgent changes need to be made to the way it is reported, the role of schools in preventing it and the criminal justice process in child sexual abuse cases.”
“The Icelandic ‘Barnahaus’ approach, where services ranging from medical examination to therapy are provided to victims under one roof, has been proven to be successful in overcoming some of these hurdles and I hope it will be trialled in England.”
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive has said,” Children should be assigned an independent advocate to help them navigate the court system when their abusers are brought to trial.”
“We hear every day how much children and young people at risk of, or who have experienced, sexual abuse need and benefit from our specialist services, but we know many more need our help too,” he said
Jordans represent clients who have been victims of abuse. If your require assistance in pursuing a compensation claim please contact one of our specialist Solicitors.