Child sex abuse policy overhaul

The Director of Public Prosecutions has called for a radical overhaul of the way that sexual abuse is investigated. It means hundreds of cases where there was no prosecution could be re-examined.

Hundreds of historic sex abuse allegations to be reviewed

Hundreds of historic allegations of sex abuse will be reviewed following the failure of the authorities to properly investigate the Jimmy Savile scandal as well as the gang-led grooming of girls.

The Director of Public Prosecutions also set out how abuse cases will be dealt with in the future in England and Wales, to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

ITV News UK Editor Lucy Manning reports:

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DPP: Naming of child sex abuse suspects up for debate

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has spoken about the debate over whether people accused of child sex abuse should be named.

Mr Starmer told ITV News' UK Editor Lucy Manning:

"There are strong arguments either way. I can quite understand the concern of people who are wrongly accused or this sort of conduct .

"On the other hand it has to be recognised that in many cases further victims come forward because they know who the individual is".

DPP: 'We cannot afford another Savile moment'

Ahead of his announcement on new measures to transform the way the criminal justice system approaches child sex abuse, the Direction of Public Prosecutions said:

"Police and prosecutors have significantly improved the way we investigate and prosecute sexual offences in recent years, particularly those involving children.

"The results have been encouraging with more cases being brought to court, higher conviction rates and more defendants pleading guilty.

 Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer has said: "We cannot afford another Savile moment in five or 10 years". Credit: Press Association

"Yet, despite all this, events over the last 12 months raise fundamental questions about our approach to these cases.

He added: "We are clear that the yardsticks for testing the credibility and reliability of victims in sexual abuse cases do not serve the police or prosecutors well and risk leaving an identifiable group of vulnerable victims unprotected by the criminal law."

All existing child sex abuse policy to be scrapped

Plans for an overhaul of the way the criminal justice system approaches child sex abuse will be set out later today.

The CPS and ACPO have agreed:

  • All existing policy will be decommissioned, with one overarching and agreed approach to investigation and prosecution of sexual offences to be applicable in all police forces, agreed by the CPS
  • The CPS will draft new guidance to ensure consistent best practice, open to public consultation
  • Training will be hands on and provide practical advice to police and prosecutors about when a complainant can and should be told about other complaints, among other things
  • They will propose the formation of a national "scoping panel", which will review complaints made in the past which were not pursued by police and prosecutors, if requested

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ACPO: New rules ensure 'we truly learn lessons of past'

This evening the DPP will set out the results of discussions undertaken with leading police officers, including Chief Constable David Whatton from the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO). Mr Whatton said:

By working shoulder to shoulder with the Crown Prosecution Service and the College of Policing, ACPO is keen to ensure that we continue to build on progress in the area of sex offence investigation.

We have proposed a package of measures, including a rationalisation of guidance, training and consideration of a review panel mechanism to ensure we have truly learned from the lessons of the past.

New rules to bid off 'another Savile moment'

Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, is due to announce a series of changes in how police and the criminal justice system treat victims of child sex abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Read: 'Prolific, predatory sex offender' Savile 'groomed the nation'

Keir Starmer said the new measures wil Credit: Press Association

Mr Starmer said the scandal raised some "fundamental questions" on how the justice system approaches victims. He said:

"We cannot afford another Savile moment in five or 10 years' time. Whatever approach is now agreed it has to be fully informed, coherent, consistently applied across the country and able to withstand the test of time."

Watch: Police forces 'missed opportunities' when Savile was alive

New police policies to tackle child sex abuse

Radical measures to transform the way the criminal justice system approaches child sex abuse will be announced later today by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the police.

DPP Keir Starmer QC and Chief Constable David Whatton from the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO), will set out plans for an overhaul of guidance, a programme of training, and proposals for a panel of officers and prosecutors to look at past decisions if requested.