Today (Tuesday 11 February 2020) the APPG published the final report resulting from its year long inquiry into survivors’ experiences of accessing support and the criminal justice system.
The report makes a series of recommendations to government which, if implemented, would transform the support survivors receive from statutory services and criminal justice agencies.
1. Government should use the 2020 Spending Review to create a discrete, cross-departmental strategic fund to transform Government response to child sexual abuse. This should fund core services to meet demand and recognise the value of the specialist voluntary sector.
2. Government should bring forward, without delay, a Victims’ Law which includes an updated, accessible Victims’ Code with national standards for timelines and updates for survivors, a clear complaints process and an empowered Victims’ Commissioner. The Victims’ Code must include new, high standards on communication, information and support to which police and the CPS can be held accountable.
3. Government should amend the Policing and Crime Act 2017 tocreate a presumption that suspects under investigation for sexual offences only be released from police custody on bail.
4. Government should publish a national cross-departmental strategy on addressing childhood trauma and adverse experiences. This should include an ambition to train front-line professionals to recognise and respond to abuse in a trauma-informed way.
5. Government should publish a revised Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme without delay. The new Scheme should:
- Abolish the unspent convictions rule for survivors of child sexual abuse.
- Abolish the time limit for application for compensation for crimes of sexual violence and abuse.
- Extend the definition of violent crime, and thereby eligibility for the Scheme, to include non-contact forms of child sexual abuse including online.
- Recognise children can’t consent to their own sexual abuse.
The report was launched at an event in Parliament where attendees heard from Wendy Morton MP, Minister for Victims; Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims Commissioner; Chief Constable Simon Bailey; as well as two survivors of abuse.
Our CEO Fay Maxted OBE, also spoke at the event:
“We need a cultural shift; entrenched attitudes in society and what is happening to survivors across the board needs to change. We’re all a part of this and we need to work together to be part of the solution”.
The APPG thanks everyone who contributed to the inquiry, particularly the survivors to whom a debt of gratitude is owed.
You can read the full report here.