An expert in child abuse investigations has urged the government
to introduce training for social workers who interview alleged
victims of abuse, writes Sally
Dr William Thompson claimed social workers do not have the
skills to detect false claims. Giving evidence to the last session
of the home affairs select committee inquiry into abuse in
children’s homes, he also said social workers were incapable
of reviewing and analysing their interviews.
Thompson, a lecturer in human sexualities at Reading University,
who has worked on six major abuse investigations including
Cleveland and Orkney, said that between 40 and 50 per cent of
questions asked by social workers and the police were leading or
“I have a major problem in that it has been demonstrated over
and over again that social workers do not review their interviews.
It has always horrified me,” said Thompson.
He added that he had dealt with a Kent social worker recently
who had worked on around 100 cases but “admitted that she had never
read a transcript of one of her interviews because that was not the
practice in Kent social services”.
Asked by committee chairperson Chris Mullin MP what reforms he
would like to see as a result of the inquiry, Thompson said: “I
cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for
professionals, social workers and the police, to have proper
training on how to conduct interviews and also how to review