The Director of Public Prosecutions announced a package of measures designed to transform the way in which the criminal justice system tackled child sexual abuse. The measures included:
An overhaul of policy and guidance. All existing policy would be decommissioned, with one overarching and agreed approach to investigation and prosecution of sexual offences to be applicable in all police forces and agreed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS would also draft new guidance to ensure consistent best practice, which would be open to public consultation.
Training would ensure there was no gap between policy and practice. The training would provide practical advice to police and prosecutors about when a complainant could and should be told about other complaints, among other things.
The formation of a national scoping panel, which would review complaints made in the past that were not pursued by police and prosecutors, if requested.
Source: Press release 6 March 2013, Crown Prosecution Service
A think-tank report said that there was 'widespread ignorance' about the problem of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour in the United Kingdom. It called for the appointment of an anti-slavery commissioner modelled on the children's commissioner to hold the government to account on actions to tackle the problem; and for a new Modern Slavery Act to ensure that victims did not face the threat of prosecution and were encouraged to report abuse and seek help from welfare agencies.
Source: It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery, Centre for Social Justice
The police service inspectorate said that the police had failed to respond effectively to allegations of sexual abuse made against the entertainer Jimmy Savile during his lifetime. Although policies and practices designed to improve the experience of child victims were now available, there were serious concerns over why so many victims had felt unable to come forward and report what had happened to the authorities at the time.
Source: 'Mistakes Were Made': HMIC's review into allegations and intelligence material concerning Jimmy Savile between 1964 and 2012, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
Notes: The police inspectorate asked police forces to provide all information relating to sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile recorded prior to the launch of an official police investigation in October 2012. The police had recorded just five allegations of criminal conduct and two pieces of intelligence information during Saviles lifetime, with the earliest of these records dating from 1964. In contrast, since 2012 more than 600 people had come forward with allegations against Savile.
An article examined two recent coalition government proposals for 'victim-focused' crime prevention the domestic violence disclosure scheme, and plans to criminalize stalking behaviour. These supposedly 'preventative' proposals were in fact responsive and problematic, as their implementation relied upon the existence of victims. Rather than effectively preventing abuse, victims' voices were instead being used to enhance and expand legislation. Criminal justice policies alone were unable to prevent violence against women, and more engagement needed to occur outside of the criminal justice arena.
Source: Marian Duggan, 'Using victims' voices to prevent violence against women: a critique', British Journal of Community Justice, Volume 10 Number 2
A joint inspectorate report said that professional workers were often missing opportunities to prevent reoffending by children and young people who committed sexual offences.
Source: Examining Multi-Agency Responses to Children and Young People who Sexually Offend: A joint inspection of the effectiveness of multi-agency work with children and young people in England and Wales who have committed sexual offences and were supervised in the community, HM Chief Inspector of Probation/Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales/Care Quality Commission/Estyn/Healthcare Inspectorate Wales/HMI Constabulary/HMI Prisons/Ofsted
A new book examined the role of the grooming process in child sexual abuse and what could be done to prevent it.
Source: Anne-Marie McAlinden, 'Grooming' and the Sexual Abuse of Children: Institutional, internet, and familial dimensions, Oxford University Press
A statistical bulletin brought together, for the first time, a range of official statistics providing an overview of sexual offending in England and Wales. Nearly 1 in 5 of all women reported that they had been the victim of a sexual offence since the age of 16.
Source: An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales, Statistical Bulletin, Ministry of Justice/Home Office/Office for National Statistics