Debate on false allegations of abuse

We asked whether there are enough safeguards to prevent
false allegations of abuse being made. These are the responses we

The common sense answer to this is no. Who
says so. Well an increasing number of staff (past and present).  So
do an increasing number of people who have themselves been
concerned with investigating allegations of abuse. These include
police officers (some of high rank) professionals, politicians, the
public as well as academics, journalists and lawyers. 

What is surprising is that despite the findings of the selects
committee on investigations of abuse in children’s home and the
findings of the nursery nurse libel case (which should be
compulsory reading on social work and child protection training
courses), child care agencies and employers are reluctant to
acknowledge this problem. 

The evidence would suggest that we are approaching a situation
in which the police service and the child protection community are
becoming vulnerable to accusations of widespread  institutional
investigative malpractice.

What is more, false allegations blight families, ruin children’s
lives, demoralise staff, undermine recruitment, take up valuable
investigative time and resources, cost millions of pound per year,
undermine essential trust between adults and children and fail to
protect children. Yet employers and child care organisations do
very little to acknowledge this problem let alone deal with it.

What is needed above all else it a new ethical child protection
investigative model which acknowledges that allegations of abuse
may or may not be true, and seeks to establish the truth rather
than as so often happens believes the complainant and seeks to
support the allegations which have been made. We need to move away
from an investigative culture which operates on the basis that all
complaints must be believed to one which supports the idea that
whilst the complaint may be believable they may also be
This comment has been submitted on behalf of FACT North Wales – a
campaigning group for victims of false allegations of abuse made in
respect of carers and teachers.”

Michael Barnes

There are most certainly not enough safeguards
to prevent staff being falsely accused of abuse and far too many
people will falsely accuse in order to gain benefit for
themselves.  We are in to compensation culture and those of dubious
character are only too happy to make a claim for thousands of
pounds in compensation, particularly through civil claims where
they will
receive enormous amounts of money. 

There are also other benefits for those dubious characters who
are in constant trouble with the police such as plea bargaining,
shorter sentences, and a good excuse for their offending
False accusations destroy an innocent persons life and that of
his/her family and many innocent people are convicted to spend
miserable years in prison.  It does not help anyone to convict the
The home affairs select committee have produced an excellent report
on their investigations into historical cases of child abuse and I
can only hope the government implement their

S. Griffiths (Mrs)

To even ask such a question as to whether
there are enough safeguards surely is providing an answer in
itself. Working within a care profession these days appears to be
placing yourself in a lottery… without a doubt innocent people
are gambling with the lives of themselves and families… never
knowing when that accusation will be thrown at them… never
knowing when they will be faced with losing their friends family,
freedom and self respect.
it appears that staff are doing the best they can to protect
themselves from being attacked by the moral panic of a few lies for
a quick buck BUT it is not enough. The only way to be truly
protected today seems to give up the profession you have worked so
hard for and for many devoted your life to.
Therefore I believe there has to be a change and that change has to
come from within the legal system. People cannot wait till they are
accused – ey must fight now.Bitish justice is letting innocent
people down. It has given its control to a no win no fee culture
where you can sue for anything and the truth comes second and in
many cases never at all.”
Emma Phillips,  Manchester

I most strenuously feel that there are not
enough safeguards to prevent staff of children’s homes being
falsely accused of abuse. One major issue is the use of  “similar
fact ” evidence which eroneously stokes up the “no smoke without
fire” argument and therefore misleads the jury.  Another serious
defect is that  “accusations” are often 20 or 30 years old thus
making it impossible to prove the case one way or the other for
lack of concrete evidence of an offence.”


Video taping of police interviews by police
with alleged victims is vitally important to enable juries to judge
the content, attitude and body language of those bringing false and
malicious accusations against their former carers. This would also
help to eliminate the dangers of police ‘editing’ of complainant
statements – we gather that 3 or more police have interviewed
separately and then conferred to produce a statement.

It is in this unnatural partnership between the police and the
trawled accusers that the case is won or lost before ever reaching
court. This is patently unjust.

Sadly without such safeguards men of honour, integrity and
compassion will remain at the mercy of hostile,
compensation-seeking misfits in our society.”

Moyreen and Brian Tilbrook

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