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GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT ON HISTORIC CHILD ABUSE CASES

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The Home Office today published its response to the home affairs ...
The Home Office today published its response to the home affairs

select committee report - The Conduct of Investigations into Past

Cases of Abuse in Children's Homes.

Home Office minister, Lord Falconer, said:

'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

police investigation.

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

structure

- 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

malicious allegations.

Lord Falconer said the government would continue working with ACPO to

ensure that guidance was reviewed regularly as best practice emerged.

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