Thou­sands of child abusers freed with­out con­di­tions

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Charles Hy­mas Home Af­fairs edi­tor

AROUND 3,000 sus­pected child abusers were re­leased back into their com­mu­nity by po­lice with­out any con­di­tions in the space of a year, putting vic­tims at risk, a study found.

The num­ber ar­rested for child abuse but then “re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion” with­out con­di­tions, rose more than 10-fold, from 261 to 2,993 in just a year, since bail re­forms were in­tro­duced in 2017, ac­cord­ing to po­lice data sup­plied to MPS.

By con­trast, the num­ber re­leased on po­lice bail with legally bind­ing re­stric­tions to stop them go­ing near vic­tims more than halved from 4,657 in 2016-17 to 2,036 in 2017-18, ac­cord­ing to Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests to po­lice forces.

“This has had se­ri­ous ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the safety of sur­vivors and their con­fi­dence in po­lice to keep them and their fam­i­lies safe if they re­port abuse,” said the re­port by an all-party par­lia­men­tary group on child abuse led by Sarah Cham­pion, MP for Rother­ham.

“Perti­nently, one in five sur­vivors told our sur­vey they did not re­port to po­lice as they feared fur­ther vi­o­lence from the perpetrato­r.

“When a sus­pect is ‘re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion’, po­lice can­not place safe­guard­ing con­di­tions on them, for ex­am­ple, pre­vent­ing them from con­tact­ing the sur­vivor or from at­tend­ing the sur­vivor’s home or work­place.”

Nearly half (46 per cent) of child abuse vic­tims have so far cho­sen not to re­port to po­lice, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey of vic­tims by the all party group.

Thirty per cent said they did not think the po­lice would suc­cess­fully ap­pre­hend and pros­e­cute the perpetrato­r, while 27 per cent thought the po­lice would be un­sup­port­ive.

Ms Cham­pion said vic­tims were not ask­ing for “spe­cial treat­ment”. “Rather, they just need crim­i­nal jus­tice agen­cies that are able to recog­nise that many sur­vivors are trau­ma­tised in­di­vid­u­als and need a ser­vice that is un­der­stand­ing of their needs,” she said.

“The sit­u­a­tion is ur­gent. If vic­tims do not be­lieve the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem is cred­i­ble then there is a real dan­ger, they will refuse to en­gage with it.”

The dis­clo­sure comes af­ter Priti Pa­tel, the Home Sec­re­tary, an­nounced a con­sul­ta­tion on pro­pos­als to scale back the bail re­forms. A Home Of­fice spokesman said; “The public con­sul­ta­tion will help en­sure that the needs of vic­tims are put first and that po­lice in­ves­ti­gate crimes ef­fec­tively and swiftly.”

The MPS’ sur­vey also found most vic­tims felt they did not have the ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port or in­for­ma­tion as they went through with their cases.

Seven in 10 (69 per cent) said that they were not given ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pla­na­tion or sup­port when at­tend­ing court, while three quar­ters said they were not in­formed about their abuser’s pa­role or the process in­volved in re­leas­ing them from jail.

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