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Child Abuse: Prosecutions

Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 31 October 2017

We are taking action across the Government to bring about a step change in the response to the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, including the commencement of the roll-out of recorded pre-trial cross-examination for vulnerable witnesses in Crown courts in January 2017. Further roll-out for vulnerable witnesses, which includes child victims of sexual abuse, will continue in the autumn.

It takes tremendous courage for children to come forward in such cases. The process of giving evidence is often extremely harrowing. They deserve justice, and when that does not happen they are left deeply disillusioned with the system. It is something I have seen in my own constituency. What further steps can the Government take to ensure that justice is done? In particular, will the Minister look at the operation of the criminal injuries compensation scheme to ensure that child abuse victims are treated fairly?

It is an important point that the nature of grooming can make signs of abuse particularly challenging to detect. That is something that CICA—the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority—has to address. That is why it has consulted with experts and charities to produce recently published new guidance to ensure every victim gets the compensation to which they are entitled.