DPP Defends Historic Sex Abuse Victims

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Last week the new DPP, Alison Saunders spoke out on behalf of sex claim victims. This is the first time she has commented on the issue following recent high profile cases for historical sex abuse.

Child Abuse

Abuse Victims Not "Money Grabbers"


Speaking out for the first time, Ms Saunders said those coming forward and saying they had been sexually abused as children, were being branded "money grabbers" – and that is was, "a view we should be careful to avoid". Especially when these men and women are coming forward, and their claims are finally being "treated with the respect they deserve".

She went on to say that the discussion may have moved away from women "asking for it" because of the way they dress, but we must be cautious in assuming these victims are coming forward for financial gain – creating a new myth that will stop people from seeking justice.

System is Working


These recent cases are all part of Operation Yewtree, an investigation which began following the case of Jimmy Saville, a known child sex abuser who evaded capture because of corrupt practices. Not all of those accused have been found guilty, however for some, fresh allegations are sure to be investigated. Even if a trial has occurred, like in a recent case, if a decision cannot be made on a number of counts a re-trial will happen.

Saunders comments, “So long as our criminal justice system is working, we will continue to see acquittals in these types of cases. But we are also seeing convictions.”

Police in a Difficult Situation


The DPP also noted that women may be put off by the thought of a "deeply invasive" trial process as they may believe the system is against them, or they have feelings of shame. Women who have been raped later in life, share the same fears. However, this is something that is going to be addressed in the new proposed Victims Law that is to be drafted by the former DPP Keir Starmer.

Metropolitan Police chief, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said the police were in a "damned if they do, damned if they don't" scenario. They having faced criticism in the past for not taking allegations seriously, such as in the Jimmy Saville case, but now face regular condemnation for pursuing claims to trial.

Although compensation is awarded in cases of child abuse and rape, it should never be assumed that this was the main motivation of the victim. Compensation can also bring closure and help victims restore their confidence to move on with their lives.


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