Legislation designed to improve support for people with learning
difficulties who claim sexual abuse will not be used because
agencies do not have the necessary resources to fund new measures,
writes Sally Gillen.
Under the Youth and Criminal Guidance Act, which comes into
force next month, a range of special measures, such as videotaping
evidence and providing screens in court, can be used in cases
involving vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
But Kathryn Stone, director of charity Voice UK, told a home
affairs select committee inquiry into abuse in children’s
homes, that police authorities and the court services had not been
given any extra money to implement the measures.
She said: “The trial process could be made a lot better for
vulnerable witnesses if the special measures of the Youth and
Criminal Guidance Act were properly funded and delivered.”
She added that all professionals involved in the criminal
justice system should be made aware of the vulnerability of
survivors of child abuse, and should enlist the help of
organisations that provide counselling and therapeutic