§ Mr. French
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to amend the provisions in the Criminal Justice Acts concerning video-taped evidence in child abuse cases;
(2) how many representations he has received concerning the use of video-taped evidence in child abuse hearings.
§ Mr. Jack
Since October 1992, section 54 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 has allowed for video recordings of interviews with children to be admitted as evidence-in-chief in certain criminal proceedings. My Department regularly receives requests for advice both orally and in writing about the operation of this provision. The general impression which they give is that the changes introduced by the Act command widespread support. We have also recently received representations from the NSPCC generally about the needs of abused children in the legal process.
Although we have no present plans to amend the Act, we have commissioned independent research into the use of video recorded evidence from children in criminal proceedings. We will review the current law in the light of the results of that research and of any representations made to us.