§ Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have taken action to review the procedures followed and personnel employed in complex child abuse investigations, and in particular to issue guidance to agencies on record-keeping and information-sharing in such cases. [HL4722]
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton)
Inter-agency guidance on the strategic management of complex child abuse investigations is published today in response to Recommendation 22 ofLost in Care, the report of the tribunal of inquiry into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974.
This new guidance builds on the key principles for investigating organised or multiple abuse set out in the Government's child protection guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children, published in 1999. It has been developed by an inter-agency working group, chaired by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which drew together the experience of a number of police forces, local authorities and voluntary organisations which have been closely involved in undertaking complex child abuse investigations.
The guidance is aimed primarily at the police and social services. It focuses on the specific issues highlighted in Recommendation 22 of access to records and information-sharing, and it also provides practical advice on key inter-agency issues such as setting up and closing an investigation, victim and witness support and media handling. The guidance also addresses concerns raised by those who have questioned the investigative methods used in inquiries, including the methods used to contact potential witnesses and the treatment of alleged offenders.
Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Library.