Tag: Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Singer Chris Brown Arrested for Assault

Image of R and B singer Chris Brown

American R&B singer Chris Brown has been arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Incident

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said that police had been called to Brown’s property at around 3am PST on Tuesday morning after a woman called police for help.

Lt Chris Ramirez of the LAPD told reporters that they received a call early on Tuesday from outside the residence in the Tarzana neighbourhood. However, Lt Ramirez did not say what assistance the woman required.

Calls to representatives for Brown were not immediately returned.

2009 Attack

This is not the first time the singer has been in trouble with law enforcement – he spent six years on probation after pleading guilty to attacking his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna, in 2009.

Police were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance in the early hours of 8th February, where Rihanna was found with multiple contusions to her face. The couple had been on their way to a Grammy Award after-party and were travelling in Brown’s car.

According to a police affidavit, an argument began when Rihanna discovered a text message from another woman on Brown’s mobile phone.

Brown then attempted to push Rihanna out of the car. He choked her and punched her repeatedly. When Rihanna pretended to phone her assistant for police help, Brown threatened to kill her.

Brown originally claimed he was innocent; however he entered a last minute deal at a Los Angeles court and pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault, avoiding a prison sentence.

Criminal Injuries – Expert Advice

Criminal injuries compensation may be available if you have experienced physical trauma or psychological trauma as a result of a violent crime. Speaking to a member of our team about your criminal injury may be the first time that you have spoken to anybody about your experience – this is common among our clients. We guarantee complete confidentiality throughout your claim.

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is, however, a government Scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families who have been the innocent victims of violent crime. The Scheme is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is governed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: The Guardian; The Guardian

Pregnant Woman Attacked on North London Street

Image of blue and white police tape

A woman has described her ordeal as she was attacked and robbed by a young man on a London street in June this year, while she was in labour.

Incident

Patience Chukwu was on her way to hospital when she took her mobile phone out of her bag to call her sister and birthing partner. However, as she did so, a young man on a bicycle approached her and grabbed her phone.

During the attack, Ms Chukwu – who was experiencing contractions at the time, was dragged down the street and repeatedly punched in the head as she tried to shield her stomach.

Immediately after the attack, members of the public came to Ms Chukwu’s aid and called the police. Once police arrived, the 40 year old was questioned by an officer about the incident and a second officer timed her contractions while they waited for an ambulance.

Ms Chukwu said of the incident:

“He was pulling me, dragging me with the bike, I was pleading. I said: ‘Please, I’m in labour, as you can see I’m heavily pregnant.’ He didn’t want to listen, he didn’t want to stop, he was trying to ride the bike.

“He was hitting me to let go but I refused to let go.”

Calling her attacker a ‘coward’, she added:

“He really wanted to hit my tummy because the level of which his hand was coming would have landed on my stomach. So I shielded my baby, with my hand and I bent down, the blow went to my eyes and everything became so dark.

“I couldn’t see so I let go … and the boy started pedalling away.”

Distress to Mother & Child

The commotion and shock of the incident caused her unborn child to become distressed, with midwives unable to detect the baby’s heartbeat. The child was rushed to intensive care following an emergency cesarean. Ms Chukwu has expressed that she feels responsible for her son’s distress:

“I saw all the wires connected, I felt so responsible that my baby was going through that. I felt that if I had not run after the man or held on to him, being dragged by him, my baby might not have gone through that stress.

“But I was told even if I didn’t go after the boy or hold him, the shock alone that my phone was snatched unexpectedly is also enough for the baby to go through that same shock, that stress.”

Since the attack, two month old Ozil suffers with painful seizures on a daily basis. His mother, who suffered with depression and anxiety prior to the attack, is now even more afraid to walk down the street and fears using her phone in public. She said:

“I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel free going out now.

“I’m so afraid of people coming towards me … And no matter how important the call is, if I have a phone call, if my phone is ringing as long as I’m outside I don’t pick it [up].”

“Now if I see someone coming, especially a man on a bike, I will look for another alternative route to take.”

Police Investigation

The attacker has been described as ‘a short black man of medium build between 18 and 20 years old, with shaven hair and brown eyes’. He was apparently wearing a hooded grey top at the time of the attack and is described to have ‘a slim face with pronounced cheek bones and a rough, pock-marked complexion’.

The attack took place at around 9am on Sunday 26 June on Leadale Road, North London. Anyone with information regarding the attack on is asked to contact the investigation team on 07795 122 325 or 101 and request Hackney CID, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Criminal Injury – Expert Advice

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is, however, a government Scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families who have been the innocent victims of violent crime. The Scheme is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is governed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: The Guardian

Photographer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

Close up image of person holding a digital camera with lens in forefront

A British man has recently been jailed for more than 11 years, after he admitted drugging and raping three young men he met on social media.

Bristol Crown court heard how 43 year old Nigel Wilkinson set up a website last year, WilkoPhotography, and marketed himself as a fitness photographer. He would scout Instagram for potential victims and then invite them back to his home for a photo shoot under the guise of ‘putting together a modelling portfolio’. However, once they arrived, he would ply his victims with alcohol that was laced with various drugs, including Rohypnol, before attacking them.

Police investigation

Police began investigating Wilkinson in February of this year. Kent police were called by the girlfriend of a 19 year old man after she had received a text message from her boyfriend that claimed he had been drugged. Officers found the 19 year old at Wilkinson’s home and after a number of hospital tests, traces of a sedative were discovered in his system. The man also underwent further tests at a sexual assault referral centre, the results of which prompted officers to make an arrest.

When they arrived at Wilkinson’s home to make the arrest in April, police found a 23-year-old man asleep on the sofa. The man underwent tests at the Bridge sexual assault centre in Bristol and it was found that he had been drugged and raped.

A third victim, another 19 year old male, was discovered by police during their investigation. Like Wilkinson’s other two victims, this young man was also found to have traces of sedatives in his system. Empty drug packets and photographs of other young males on his computer (some of whom were naked) were also found during police searches of Wilkinson’s property.

None of his victims have any recollection of the acts committed on them.

Sentencing

The 43 year old received a sentence of 11 and a half years after pleading guilty to two counts of rape and three counts of administering a substance with intent to rape. Wilkinson also pleaded guilty to possession of the class C drugs Flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol, and Nitrazepam.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Longman told him:

“You wanted to have sex with as many attractive men as possible. All the victims were much younger than you and entrusted themselves to you. You abused the trust they placed in you.”

Continued Investigation

The police investigation into Wilkinson’s background is ongoing. As the three known victims had no memory of the attacks, police are concerned that there may be many more victims. Officers have expressed that they want to speak with anyone who may have been in contact with him through dating or photography websites and that the number of potential victims is expected to run into double figures.

PC Mike Steven said:

“The circumstances of this case are truly horrifying. I’d encourage any other victim of Nigel WIlkinson to come forward and speak to us. We’re always here and ready to listen to, believe and respect victims.”

Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL). More detailed information regarding sexual abuse claims can be found here.

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Guardian

Sexual Abuse | Man Jailed for Grooming 10 Year Old

Image of whatsapp logo on mobile telephone

A 23 year old man has been handed a ten and a half year jail sentence after he was found guilty of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and possession of indecent images of children.

Groomed

Jamie Baker, of New Addington, Surrey, began messaging his victim, a ten year old girl, in May 2014. He groomed the young child over WhatsApp – a free messaging app – ordering her to pose for sexually explicit photographs and videos.

An early text message sent to the child read:

‘You’re 10? How come your boobs are so big?’

When she refused to send further messages, Baker threatened to show the girl’s mother the messages she had sent.
Another message retrieved by police read:

‘[My friend] said she would tell your mum – she’s got all the pictures and she’s going to tell your mum because you ignored her.’

Images of Other Girls

Police officers found dozens of images of 13 other children (all girls of a similar age), when they raided Baker’s home on 26 September 2014.

Police discovered a message on his phone from a man, known only as Frank, telling him to ‘delete the kid porn photos’. When questioned about this, Baker claimed that this was a ‘joke’, telling officers that the images were already on his phone when he bought it second hand.

Sentencing at the Old Bailey

Baker denied all charges, however he was sentenced to nine years for causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity. The paedophile was sentenced to a further 18-month sentence for four counts of possession of indecent images of children, to run consecutive to the nine-year sentence.

Baker was also served with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, prohibiting him from contacting anybody under the age of 16 via the internet, along with an order to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Sentencing Baker at the Old Bailey, Judge Daniel Worsley said:

‘Some may say that the keys should be thrown away.’

‘It’s quite clear that you engaged in a persistent course of conduct over the summer months of 2014 which essentially involved blackmailing that little girl and persuading her, for fear of you reporting things to her mother, to take pictures of herself taken in sexual poses.’

The judge added that this case was ‘particularly worrying’ as Baker had downloaded so many images of other girls. Judge Worsley went on to say:

‘You had spread your tentacles to include others so that images no doubt taken by people such as you who encourage girls to touch themselves were downloaded.’

‘These are young girls with their lives ahead of them: their sexual lives, their married lives – all likely to be tainted by your activities.’

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL). More detailed information regarding sexual abuse claims can be found here.

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online

Barrister Cleared of Sexual Assault

Black and white image of a wooden gavel resting on an open textbook

A London barrister has recently been cleared of sexual assault, after a Judge decided he could not be sure the events unfolded in the way the alleged victim described, due to her alcohol consumption on the night in question.

Alleged Incident – Sexual Assault

Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in North London heard how 36 year old Alex Di Francesco met and struck up a conversation with the 24 year old woman in Daly’s Wine Bar, Central London. When the bar closed, he took her back to his chambers.

Dilichi Onuzo, prosecuting, said:

‘They chatted for an hour until closing time. He told her he was a barrister, she did not believe him so went on Google to check. They had a conversation about whether he had a wig and gown.’

Di Francesco then allegedly tried to force himself on the 24 year old woman, telling her to ‘grow up’ and demanding to know why she wouldn’t sleep with him when she tried to push him away.

Miss Onuzo added:

‘She went to his chambers at 25 Bedford Row and he took her to his office to show her his wig and gown. She tried on the wig and gown and he took her upstairs to an office, where there was a large conference table.

‘He tried to kiss her, she moved away. She felt sleepy and lay down on the floor. He laid down and pulled down her tights and panties and reached for her. She pushed him away, pulled up her tights and pants and he then grabbed her bum really, really hard.

‘Mr Di Francesco asked her “Aren’t we going to have sex?” and she found him aggressive and confrontational.

‘She started crying and said she was having an anxiety attack, which he seemed to find funny and started laughing. She threw up and he was standing behind her.’

The young woman then called an Uber taxi and left. She did not report the incident to police until the following week, the woman told the court:

‘I blamed myself for the fact I hadn’t looked after myself and I had got drunk.

‘It wasn’t until I got more comfortable and I told my mum and my housemates and they said “no, what he did is wrong and alcohol didn’t have anything to do with it”.

‘It’s taken a very long time to even consider being close to someone again.’

Arrest & Defence

Di Francesco was then arrested and questioned by police. In court, the barrister said that the woman had refused to have sex but that she invited him back to her home multiple times to ‘spoon’.

Di Francesco insisted that the young women became angry when he refused to go home with her, telling the court:

‘I said “I can’t, I live in Harpenden”. She said “you won’t go home because I won’t have sex with you” – she said it in a way that got under my skin. I said “that’s not true, but to be perfectly frank, if that’s not what we’re going to do what’s the point?” It might not have been the most sensitive thing to say.

‘I’m in chambers lying on the floor, she wasn’t aggressive – she was just accusatory, and it wasn’t nice anymore and I thought “I’ve got to leave”.’

He added that she did not pull away from his kisses, saying:

‘There was no sharp end to the kiss, there was nothing that had made me think that I had overstepped the mark or I had done something that I shouldn’t have.’

Not Guilty

Di Francesco denied sexual assault, insisting all the touching was consensual and that the woman had kissed him back. He claimed the woman had asked her to lie on the floor with him and ‘be the big spoon’.

The 36 year old was last week cleared of one count of sexual assault, after Deputy District Judge Mr Nicholas Wattan ruled that the complainant’s version of events could not be taken at face value due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed that night. The woman said she had shared champagne and wine with a friend, and consumed up to three double vodkas that night.

Judge Wattan, adding that Di Francesco’s ‘credible’ account ‘stood up well to cross examination’, told the court:

‘I’m concerned her recall of what happened is impaired by the amount of alcohol she had that evening. I can’t be sure the events unfolded in the way she described.’

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online

Two Men Charged with Revenge Porn

A 24 year old man has been charged with revenge porn after he sent a private video of his ex-girlfriend to a former partner of hers, who was also charged with the offence.

Video Clip

Aidan Farrelley sent a 30 second long clip, in which Joanna Trayte is performing a sex act, to 34 year old Christopher Green via Whatsapp. Mr Farrelly reportedly sent the clip after the emotional breakdown of his relationship with Ms Trayte.

Mr Green, a former partner of Ms Trayte and with whom she shares a child, then tried to contact Ms Trayte to warn her of the video. Ms Trayte failed to respond and, fearing that their child would be ‘ostracised’, Mr Green sent the video to a friend of the victims to show her.

However, despite alerting police that he had received the video in a bid to get it removed or deleted, Mr Green was taken to court and charged with distributing revenge porn along with Mr Farrelley.

Sentencing

Martin Lewis, prosecuting, told the court Mr Farrelley had confessed he ‘had done this out of revenge, because he thought she had been going out with Mr Green’.

Mr Farrelley, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing private sexual pictures and/or film with intent to cause distress. He was sentenced to two months, suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work. Mr Farrelley was also ordered to pay £250 in costs.

Sentencing Mr Farrelley at Harrow Crown Court, Judge Martyn Barklem said:

“Mr Farrelley you decided to publish this video, an intimate video you had, out of spite and desire for revenge and that is something that is regarded as very serious.

“It is a relatively new offence, but with the fact is once these videos are in the public arena, it seems like a Pandora’s Box never to be closed again, and they stay online forever.

“I accept you may not have intended or wanted it to be so widely published.”

Mr Farrelley also faced one count of harassment, but this was withdrawn by the prosecution.

‘Could have warned her in another way’

Speaking for Green’s defence, Louise Thomas said:

“In relation to the offence he was made aware that Mr Farrelley had posted a video of the complainant.

“He was upset about this and was worried about the effect it would have on his son which he has with the complainant.

“He didn’t want his son to be ostracised and tried to warn the complainant about the video. He messaged her and she didn’t reply.

“He decided to send the video to a friend of hers, so she could show her the video and he called the police.

“He accepts he could have warned her in another way, and he is very remorseful.”

Mr Green also pleaded guilty to one count of distributing private sexual pictures and/or film with intent to cause distress. He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 in costs.

‘Trying to protect our son’

Sentencing Mr Green, the judge told him:

“It seems to me that having read through the documents and witness statements in this case that although what you did was foolish in sending the video, you genuinely did so out of concern for the child you share with the complainant.”

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Green said:

“I was trying to protect our son. That was the only thing I wanted to do. I was trying to help her, we have got a child together and that’s the reason why.

“I didn’t think warning her or warning her through her mate was breaking the law in any form.”

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online

Briton Sentenced to 15 years for Multiple Rapes

Image of Melbourne waterfront at night

A British man has been jailed for at least 11 years for the rapes of three women in Australia in the 1980s.

Cold cases

Colin Henderson raped the women in their Melbourne homes between 1981 and 1984, after answering their adverts for a housemate.

Detectives in Victoria, Australia reopened a number of cold cases after improvements in DNA technology linked Henderson to wine glasses in his victim’s homes.

On two occasions Henderson brought bottles of wine with him, under the guise of trying to ‘get to know a potential housemate’. But when one woman rebuffed his advances, he held a knife to her throat and raped her. He attacked another victim after asking to sleep in front of the fire because he was ‘too drunk to drive home’. A third victim was raped by Henderson whilst her three year old son slept in the other room.

The court heard how Henderson was married and had three young children at the time of the attacks.

Arrest & Extradition

Henderson reportedly left Australia in the mid-1990s and was living in England at the time of his arrest in 2014. The Scottish born man, now 65, was extradited from Britain last year and was due to be sentenced early in 2016 but he was too ill to attend court at the time. He later underwent emergency surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm while in custody.

Sentencing

Henderson pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated rape, one count of indecent rape, and four separate counts of aggravated rape.

Sentencing Henderson to 15 years in prison, with 11 years of non-parole, Victorian county court judge Paul Lacava said:

“Your conduct towards each of the three victims was reprehensible, predatory and planned.”

“This kind of offending was every woman’s worst nightmare.”

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: The Guardian

Man Set on Fire in Stockton-On-Tees

Image of naked flames with black background

A man in his 20s was set on fire by a group men this week in Stockton-On-Tees.

Incident

The incident, which police are classing as a homophobic hate crime, occurred whilst the victim was walking through the grounds of a church. A group of four men approached the 20 year old and asked him questions about his sexuality.

He ignored the group and continued on his journey, however one of the men approached him from behind. The offender proceeded to spray aerosol on the back of the victim’s legs and then set him alight.

The victim was treated for serious burns, which required skin grafts, at North Tees University hospital, according to police.

The incident occurred at 3am on Wednesday 20 July and Cleveland police are urging any witnesses to come forward. A statement released by the force read:

“The man who lit the aerosol is described as white, in his early 20s, medium build, with short blond hair. He was bare-chested and wearing jogging bottoms. Officers are treating this as a homophobic hate crime and are asking anyone with information to come forward and call police on 101.”

Criminal Injury – Expert Advice

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is, however, a government Scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families who have been the innocent victims of violent crime. The Scheme is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is governed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com.

Source: The Guardian

NSPCC: Internet used to commit 3000 child sex crimes in 2015

Image of someone typing on a laptop

According to figures released by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the internet was used as a platform to commit around 3000 sex crimes against children in the UK in 2015/16.

“Cyber-flagging”

At the start of April 2015, the Home Office made the recording of any sexual crime against a child that involves the use of the internet a mandatory requirement within UK police forces. This process is known as ‘cyber flagging’, and is used by police to get a better understanding of the extent of online offences against children under 18.

Figures released in a report by the NSPCC revealed that over the last year, an average of 8 cyber based sex crimes were reported to police each day, with some forces recording hundreds of crimes. However, other forces received fewer than 10 reports over the year period and other forces admitted to not knowing about, or utilising, the cyber flagging method.

3000 child sex offences reported

Of the 44 police forces across England and Wales, 38 responded to the freedom of information request for figures on how many internet-based sexual crimes had been committed against children in 2015/2016.

Offences included inciting children to take part in a sex act, sexual assaults and grooming victims before meeting them. Over 100 rapes of children were also reported.

Offenders used the internet as a gateway to commit sex crimes against victims as young as one year old. In total, 535 reported cyber abuse cases were committed against thirteen year olds and 272 victims were under the age of ten.

Increased online activity

With children spending an increasing amount of time online and on social media, charities such as the NSPCC are urging police forces across the country to ensure that their officers are recording and investigating sex crimes against children effectively.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive said:

“These figures confirm our fears that the online world is playing a significant role in the sexual abuse of children in the UK.

“It’s clear that a large volume of sexual assaults and rapes of children have involved the use of the internet – for example by grooming victims before abusing them offline, or live-streaming the abuse.

“We know grooming is on the rise because children are increasingly telling our ChildLine service how they are being targeted online. Predatory adults posing as children try to meet them or blackmail them into meeting up or performing sexual acts on webcams, which obviously terrifies them and can leave some feeling suicidal.

“By revealing this first year of data we hope to highlight how police are under increasing pressure to cope with online offences so we have to ensure they have the resources and training to make them fit for tackling crime in the 21st century.

“And government must make mental health support available to every child who has endured abuse – as we are calling for through our It’s Time campaign.”

Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: NSPCC; The Guardian

Child Sexual Exploitation: Police Criticised by Watchdog

A report by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has criticised Devon and Cornwall Police for not responding quick enough to information regarding children at risk of sexual exploitation.

Children at risk of serious harm

The independent inspectors have expressed their concern that the delays in investigating cases by the force could be putting children at risk of serious harm. Highlighting a case in which a 12-year old boy who had been groomed for sexual exploitation by an adult family friend, HMIC said more needs to be done to tackle the causes of such delays.

The report said:

“There was no evidence of any consideration being given to the wider risks posed by the suspect to other children. Despite police records showing the suspect had previously held a number of roles supervising children (including as a Scout leader, which he was asked to leave because he had taken children on trips without permission), no further investigation was undertaken to assess wider risks or to identify further potential victims.”

In another case, a 14 year old boy had been reported missing around 40 times, as well attempting to commit suicide.

In this case the risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE) had been considered and information had been shared with local authority. However, there were no long term measures in place to safeguard the child going forward.

Another cause for concern in the report was the case of a thirteen year old girl. The teenager complained to police of sexual assault at the hands of a woman she was in a relationship with. However it took the police force over a week to investigate and a total of two months passed before an arrest was made.

The report added:

“Despite concerns about the victim’s vulnerability to CSE being recorded on police systems several months before this …there was still no evidence of a safeguarding or protective plan being implemented for the victim despite clear signs of her obvious vulnerability.”

Post-inspection review of report

HMIC’s initial report regarding Devon and Cornwall police was published in 2015 and a post-inspection review was carried out in April of this year. The review noted that frontline staff within the force had been subject to additional vulnerability training. Furthermore, the review noted that some improvements had been made in relation to how the force recognised and responded to CSE.

Wendy Williams, of HMIC, said:

“Following our second inspection, it was clear that Devon and Cornwall police is committed to improving how it protects children. We found examples of good practice in how it recognises and responds to child sexual exploitation, and its risk assessment of vulnerable children.

“However, the force still faces challenges which it must overcome to ensure children are protected in all areas. We found delays to child protection investigations, as well as delays in responding to cases where children were at risk of sexual exploitation. These delays can result in children being at risk of significant harm, and need to be addressed promptly.”

Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: The Guardian