April 14, 2003
Sex abuse probe safe, say ministers

from Manchester online

CLAIMS by MPs that police probes into allegations of sex abuse in north west children's homes led to many miscarriages of justice have been rejected by the government.

It said the verdict of the Commons Home Affairs Committee that innocent people had ended up in the dock was not backed up by evidence.

And the government also said that the practice of police "trawling" for evidence of sex attacks from the past should not be banned, although there should be restrictions.

There have been inquiries into sex abuse cases in children's homes in 34 of the 43 police forces in the past five years, including Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and North Wales.

The government says it is vital that victims of past incidents of sex abuse receive justice because some of them had experienced horrendous ordeals when they were at their most vulnerable, as children in the care of local authorities or institutions.

Fabricated

The Home Affairs Committee, chaired by Labour MP Chris Mullen, concluded that there may have been many miscarriages of justice because of fabricated complaints.

But a government report stated: "The government sees no evidence to support these assumptions."

In Greater Manchester, when the committee reported last October, 28 people had been arrested, with 322 people alleging they had been sexually abused since 1998.

In one investigation in Cheshire, 163 people claimed they had been abused. Another investigation revealed 175 people who claimed abuse. Cheshire investigated six separate cases of sex abuse.

In Lancashire, there were four investigations with 309 victims alleging they were abused in just one of them.

North Wales police investigated 497 individuals, but there were only 13 successful prosecutions, even though 500 victims alleged they had been abused.

Posted by Colm at April 14, 2003 12:51 PM
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