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Charity: Police must improve reporting of child abuse

Javed Khan, chief executive of independent charity Victim Support, has said that police forces in the UK need to improve their reporting of child abuse crimes in order to build up a more accurate national picture:

It is sadly no surprise that the threat of child sexual abuse and exploitation is increasing in the UK ...

But the police service must also ask itself some searching questions. It's first priority is to prevent and detect crime.

Yet the national threat assessment has had to fill gaps because of inconsistencies in the way forces collect, record and categorise child sex abuse offences ...

Every police force must therefore contribute fully and consistently to the national intelligence picture. Only then will we have a true picture of the scale of the problem.

– Javed Khan, victim support

'Disturbing' Savile victims felt unable to speak to police

Victim Support, who advises West Yorkshire Police on sex abuse and who have helped Savile victims, has welcomed the force's report but said it is "disturbing" that none of Savile’s victims in the region felt able to contact officers about their complaints while he was still alive

We have supported many of Jimmy Savile’s victims and have seen first hand how much suffering he inflicted on so many lives.

We welcome the efforts West Yorkshire Police has made to be as transparent as possible about its relations with Savile during the years he was abusing girls, boys and young women and its own failures to share information internally and spot his pattern of offending.

It is disturbing that none of Savile’s victims in the West Yorkshire area felt able to come forward while he was still alive and we hope with help from organisations such as Victim Support the force will continue to improve public confidence in its ability to tackle sexual abuse.

– Lesley Mclean, Victim Support


More than 270,000 victims 'would not get help'

Independent research also shows that 58% of victims need support. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ministry of Justice figures show that up to 259,000 victims of burglary and up to 18,000 victims of robbery each year would not be routinely offered the help they want if these proposals go ahead, Victim Support said.

The charity said independent research also shows that 58% of victims need support regardless of the crime type.

Risk that victims will 'fall through the cracks'

Victim Support assistant chief executive Adam Pemberton said the charity welcomed many changes to the proposed code but had "serious concerns" with plans to limit automatic referral.

Our research shows that nearly two-thirds of victims need help and that support can reduce their chances of suffering problems such as depression, absenteeism from work and family breakdown with all the hidden economic and social costs they bring.

We recognise that ministers are seeking to put victims' rights at the heart of the criminal justice system but call on them restore the principle of automatic referral which has served millions of people so very well.

– Victim Support assistant chief executive Adam Pemberto

He said there was a 'very real risk' that people who have been burgled, robbed and assaulted will 'fall through the cracks' and suffer more unnecessary trauma as a result.

Call for new code to give victims the 'help they need'

A new code for victims drawn up by the Government risks seeing up to 700,000 people who have been burgled, robbed and assaulted "fall through the cracks".

Victim Support said plans to limit automatic referral to support services will make it difficult for people to "get the help they need".

All victims are currently automatically offered support once they have experienced a crime, but in 80% of cases they do not take it up.

Under the new code, ministers have proposed restricting automatic referral to those who have suffered a "serious" offence and those deemed vulnerable by being under 18, mentally ill or persistently targeted.

Victim Support: Victims could 'fall through the cracks'

Charities are warning that crime victims will no longer be referred to victims' services under new plans proposed today by the Government.

Currently, all victims are offered support once they experience a crime, but 80 per cent of them do not take it up.

Instead, automatic help will now be offered by the Ministry of Justice to those who "most need it".

Being a victim of crime can be traumatic and we're worried that victims will fall through the cracks. We hope that police and crime commissioners, with their responsibilities for victims, will want to go further than this to ensure that all victims have the support they need, when they need it.

– Javed Khan, Victim Support chief executive


Prisoners lose victim support High Court claim

Prisoners who took jobs outside jail have lost their High Court claim that a levy on their wages which goes to victim support is too high.

A judge in London rejected "on all grounds" their challenge to the legality of the way Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is operating rules governing deductions from pay packets.

The test case action affects inmates working in the community as they prepare for their release and to "go straight".

Anger at plans to change funding for Victim Support

Victim Support are campaigning against government plans to hand their funds to 41 new elected police chiefs.

The charity claims the move will set up a giant bureaucracy and papertrail, meaning it will have to apply for money 41 times around the country, potentially creating a postcode lottery for victims.

Javed Khan is chief exec of Victims Support

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