London police to revamp system for dealing with child abuse by strangers

The Metropolitan Police Authority is to phase
in improvements in the way it handles abuse offences by

The move comes three weeks after a Camden area
child protection committee report recommended changes to the way
the police deal with abuse by people outside victims’ families.

An MPA report published last week says that
cases where children are sexually assaulted by strangers should be
taken over by child protection teams in the Metropolitan Police.
Such cases are currently dealt with by rape investigation teams.
But where an offender is known to the victim cases are dealt with
by police child protection teams.

The report argues that young sufferers of
abuse need to be dealt with by specialists in child victim care,
and that child protection team workers’ skills make them better
placed to take over the responsibility for victim care and
investigation in cases of sexual assault by strangers against

The transition will be phased in with pilot
schemes later this year, which the MPA will then evaluate.

Last month a report by the Camden ACPC into
the death of 12-year-old Diego Pineiro, who was murdered by a
stranger with mental health problems, said the child protection
system was not equipped to deal with the risks posed to children by
people outside the family (News, page 6, 28 March).

The committee called for police child
protection teams to always be involved in cases of child sexual
abuse by people outside the family.

Welcoming the MPA’s report, Catherine Doran,
assistant director of social services at Camden Council, said she
hoped the recommendation would “enhance the protection of children
who have been suspected victims of assault”.

The report also recommends that police child
protection teams should develop a pilot site for providing
multi-agency victim care for victims of child abuse, including
victims of stranger rape offences.

It should also work more closely with the
voluntary and other organisations to ensure that victims receive
appropriate and accredited counselling services.

Scrutiny Report: Rape Investigation and
Victim Care

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