select committee report - The Conduct of Investigations into Past
Cases of Abuse in Children's Homes.
'The government is grateful to the committee for its hard work in
tackling this difficult and emotive subject.
'The passage of time, the serious nature of the allegations and the
long term damage done to victims by their experiences means that
proper safeguards must be observed in the chain of evidence
gathering. We must ensure that all investigations minimise the risk
to the innocent, particularly given the nature of the evidence that
most convictions rely on.
'But these are complicated cases where the damage done to many
people has been severe and permanent, and we must not deprive
victims of justice.'
Lord Falconer said that the government had issued guidance on the
investigation of historic abuse cases in the past 12 months, as had
the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The ACPO Handbook for senior investigating officers is based on
experiences of practitioners who have been involved in this type of
It provides a practical step by step guide on how to conduct these
difficult investigations including:
- Identifying good practice
- Providing advice on issues such as the investigative and management
- Multi-agency working and evidence gathering
Both these guides provide a sound and transparent framework for
conducting investigations and include a range of safeguards to make
sure evidence gathering is scrutinised for potentially false or
Lord Falconer said the government would continue working with ACPO to
ensure that guidance was reviewed regularly as best practice emerged.