Call to support adult abuse victims

Adults giving evidence in court about abuse
they suffered as a child should receive long-term social work
support and the same consideration now being afforded to child
witnesses, according to a report under consideration in

The recommendations – to the Scottish
executive and the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care –
have emerged from an independent inquiry into the case of David
Murphy, a former Fife Council care worker convicted of sexually
abusing 18 children over a 25-year period from 1960 onwards.

Mike Sawyer, Fife’s director of social work,
said: “Social workers routinely look after child victims of abuse,
but this is not necessarily the case for adults who have to relive
past experiences in historic abuse cases. Traditionally it has been
police investigation teams that take this on – but only in the
initial stages. Victims, however, need ongoing support.”

The measures that have now been introduced by
the Crown Office to ease the process of going through court for
children should also be extended to adults, said Sawyer. “Adult
survivors need to be prepared as witnesses, shown round the courts
in advance of a trial and have procedures explained to them.”

The Fife report also called for permanent
funding for support to adult sex abuse survivors who need long-term
help. “Funding could come from local authorities, health trusts or
be provided centrally – but it needs to be secure for the future
rather than decided on an annual basis,” it stated.

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