Child sex abuse victims urged to contact review panel
Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse are being urged to contact a scheme that can help them achieve justice during a month-long campaign which launched on Monday (September 18).
The Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel (CSARP) is a joint enterprise between the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which looks again at cases where a victim or survivor feel the decision to take no further action in an investigation was unjust and would like the result to be reconsidered.
It has already reviewed more than 200 cases in the past ten years.
The panel considers reported allegations of child sexual offences before June 5, 2013, and looks at whether the approach taken by the police or CPS was wrong. It then advises whether the allegations should be reinvestigated and/or reviewed.
This includes examining information requested of, and provided by, the relevant police force or CPS area, to decide whether the original decision was correct or if further action should be taken.
If the decision is made to reinvestigate or review the case, it will be referred back to the police force or CPS area from where the case originated for them to decide on the action to be taken.
If the panel agrees with the original decision to take no further action, the victim or survivor is informed by letter with specialist help and support provided or signposted. There is no appeal point beyond the panel.
Ian Critchley, NPCC lead for child protection and abuse investigation, is urging victims of non-recent child sexual abuse who are unhappy with the decision made previously by police or the CPS to contact the CSARP.
“Investigating non-recent child sexual abuse is one of the most complex and challenging areas of policing,” he said.
“The approach today to tackling child sexual abuse has evolved and is much improved in many aspects. However, there is still much for us to do, and making these improvements is a significant priority for national policing.
“We remain dedicated to our relentless pursuit of offenders and work determinedly to bring them to justice as we tackle this most abhorrent abuse.
“Every child has the right to thrive in our society, protected from harm and supported by the institutions trusted with their care.”
Nicola Haywood, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor and CPS child sex abuse lead, said: “Words can never fully describe the lifelong trauma of child sex abuse. Victims deserve the best possible chance to get justice for the actions of their abusers.
“Unfortunately, in some cases there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, but the panel has demonstrated our collective determination with police and others to look once again at whether there are new avenues for investigation and prosecution.
“In the past ten years, since the panel was established, we have reviewed more than 200 cases.”
The CSARP was set up in June 2013 to look again at cases that were not covered by the Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme. VRR was introduced to make it easier for victims to seek a review of a CPS decision not to bring charges or to terminate all proceedings; however, the VRR applies only to decisions made on or after June 5, 2013.
The campaign concludes on Friday October 13.