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Police forces review policies following violinist's death

The serious case review following the death of Frances Andrade recommended for the Home Secretary and College of Policing to be asked to develop guidelines on how to share information across forces when dealing with historic abuse cases.

Read: Music schools create 'backdrop for potent grooming'

Managerial oversight and professional supervision of cases involving childhood abuse victims should be provided in the police force, medical profession and mental health services, it also recommended.

Responding to the findings, Greater Manchester Police's public protection division, said:

I note the recommendations for GMP and we will be reviewing our Talon policy - GMP's internal policy for investigation of rape and serious sexual offences - to ensure that we provide the best possible standard of care for each and every victim.

– GMP's Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine

Surrey Police said they accepted that "more must be done" to recognise the needs of vulnerable people in historic child abuse cases and has since "identified improvements" to its information-recording practices, as well as issuing further guidance on pre-trial therapy and support.

Music schools create 'backdrop for potent grooming'

Music schools, ballet schools and drama courses, create a "backdrop" of "very particular and potent form of grooming," Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board said in its serious case review findings today.

A general view of the Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. Credit: PA

"The adults around them, who are often prominent performers in their own right, are invested with exceptional power and influence and are in a position of trust from which they exert considerable leverage over whether their pupils achieve success in their chosen fields," the report said.

It described such institutions as "hothousing establishments".

Former Chetham's School of Music pupil Frances Andrade committed suicide last year, days after giving evidence against Michael Brewer, a former music director at the prestigious school in Manchester.

Brewer and his ex-wife Kay, were subsequently convicted of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade when she was 18.

The report went on: "Chetham's School provided an ideal environment for this kind of abuse to occur. The school seemed unaware of the risks of sexual abuse and it does not appear to have proactively promoted a child protection agenda."

The report's panel said "boundaries were blurred" and some staff appeared to act at times "with impunity".

Teachers were placed in an "exclusive and powerful" position over their proteges amid an atmosphere of elite performance, it added.


Abuse victims who give evidence 'deserve support'

Professional services who were responsible for the care of Frances Andrade - referred to in the the serious case review as Mrs A - were "found wanting" in a number of ways, the report said.

Concluding the 48-year-old's suicide was one that could have been prevented, the report noted that the violinist "had reasons to live and she continued to ask for help throughout this period."

We therefore invite all the agencies concerned to take real and concrete steps towards improving their practice.

When historic cases of sexual abuse come to court, we ask former victims to stand up and lay bare details about their lives that are painful and intimate.

Criminal justice and mental health services should be able to provide a comprehensive and seamless support service to them throughout this process because, as this case demonstrates, historic abuse is always a present source of difficulty and distress to those who have been victimised.

...Those services, who held responsibility for her care, were found wanting in (a) number of ways, and we hope that Mrs A's death will galvanise them to provide more co-ordinated and skilled care to other victims of historic abuse.

Perhaps then, Mrs A's wish to protect other young people can belatedly become a reality.

– Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board

Serious case review: Key areas for improvement

A serious case review by Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board into the suicide of violinist Frances Andrade, who killed herself days after giving evidence against a former music teacher, called for these improvements:

  • Criminal justice professionals to offer better support to sex abuse survivors and recognise their "vulnerability" when facing their abusers in court
  • Provide expert witness testimony in court to explain to jurors how childhood sex abuse can affect people
  • Judges "should be proactive" when they consider a witness is vulnerable by introducing special measures, even when they have refused them
  • Mental health services to increase their alertness to the fall-out of sexual exploitation and the risks of suicide and self-harm
  • Media to be "mindful of the way a person's mental health and their credibility are discussed throughout court proceedings."

Violinist was 'let down' by support services, report finds

A serious case review said Frances Andrade was "let down" by mental health services who did not put proper care measures and adequate risk assessments in place as shemade increasingly serious suicide bids.

Violinist Frances Andrade took her own life after giving evidence at the Brewer trial. Credit: Family handout

Support services failed to realise how vulnerable the 48-year-old violinist was as she fought to bring former music director Michael Brewer to justice, the report noted.

The report said Ms Andrade exhibited different mental states, appearing competent and assured at times, and vulnerable and in despair at other moments.

Her apparent confidence should not have undermined the intensive support she was offered, the report said.

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Chetham's victim's death 'could have been prevented'

Frances Andrade killed herself during the trial at Manchester Crown Court Credit: GMP

A serious case review into the suicide of a woman during a sexual assault trial has found her death could have been prevented.

Frances Andrade killed herself after giving evidence against Michael Brewer - her violin teacher who abused her while she was a student at Chetham's School of Music.

A report by Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board said: "The Panel considered that this was a suicide that could and should have been prevented. Mrs A had reasons to live and she continued to ask for help throughout this period.

"We therefore invite all the agencies concerned to take real and concrete steps towards improving their practice."


Arrest over rape claims at Manchester music school

A 61-year-old man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of raping three teenagers at a music school in Manchester.

It's the latest development in an investigation into historical sex abuse at Chetham's School of Music and the Northern College of Music.

May 2013: At least 30 former Chetham's pupils report sexual abuse

Back in March, choirmaster Michael Brewer was jailed for six years after he was found guilty of indecently assaulting ex-pupil Frances Andrade, 48, more than 30 years ago when she was 14 and 15.

Mrs Andrade killed herself at her home in Guildford, Surrey, a week after giving evidence against him.

Read: Abuse victim's family say trial was 'too much to bear'

ITV tracks down Chetham's child abuse suspect in LA

ITV News has tracked down a former teacher living in the US who is wanted by police in Britain for questioning over allegations of child abuse at the world-famous Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

Police began looking into claims of widespread abuse last year after the school's former head of music, Michael Brewer, was convicted of indecently assaulting a pupil.

Today they have arrested a third former teacher over the alleged assault of a 15-year-old girl in the 1970s.

Chris Ling left for America after allegations were made against him more than 20 years ago. Officers now want to speak to him years after closing their initial investigation.

ITV News correspondent Martin Geissler has tracked Mr Ling down to his new home in Los Angeles, but found him reluctant to answer his questions:

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