An expert in child abuse investigations has
urged the government to introduce training for social workers who
carry out interviews with people who allege they were abused.
William Thompson, human
sexualities lecturer at Reading University, stated that workers did
not have the skills to detect false claims.
evidence to the last meeting of the House of Commons home affairs
select committee into child abuse in children’s homes, Thompson
said social workers were “incapable” of reviewing and analysing
Thompson, 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 suggestive.
has been demonstrated over and over again that social workers do
not review their interviews. It has always horrified me,” said
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”.
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 them.”