who were abused in the children’s homes they grew up in and are later
interviewed by police investigating historic child abuse are routinely left
unsupported after they have made a statement, according to an MP.
Claire Curtis-Thomas, chairperson of the All
Party Group for Abuse Investigations, last week told the home affairs select
committee into child abuse in homes that prisoners do not receive any
counselling to cope with the trauma of recalling distressing memories of abuse.
"When these interviews are over they are
just left. I don’t think that is the right way to treat people," she said.
Curtis-Thomas also highlighted the issue of
false allegations of abuse and said she had been approached by around 20
constituents, some of them care workers in children’s homes, complaining they
had been falsely accused.
She is calling for a change to the way
interviews are conducted and said that the process, which usually involves
suspected victims being interviewed in their homes without an independent
witness present, lacked openness and offered "significant opportunity for
The absence of any academic research into the
robustness of the processes was a matter of "enormous concern", she
claimed. But one key way to improve it would be to introduce tape recording of
all police interviews, which would prevent officers prompting witnesses and
could be submitted in evidence.
Curtis-Thomas claimed that many
investigations into abuse were carried out with an "over-zealous"
approach in an attempt to "right the wrongs of the past" when the
nation had been guilty of "ignoring the cries of children who had been
abused in institutions".