National Police Chiefs' Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigations, Ian Critchley, QPM has spoken of progress made in policing in the 12 months since the final report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was published. He said:
"A year ago today, the final report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was published. Over a seven year period the Inquiry held 15 investigations and completed 19 related reports with implications and recommendations for policing which, over the last 12 months we have considered and acted upon. The Final report made 20 recommendations of which policing continues to have a voice and work with our critical partners and HM Government
"We know that policing hasn’t always got it right in the past, but progress has been made. We have developed a far deeper and more meaningful understanding of child sexual exploitation and abuse in recent years, and we acknowledge the invaluable work of the Inquiry which made a significant number of recommendations on how vulnerable children can be better safeguarded.
"The pace of change over the last year has been significant. In April the Government launched the CSE Taskforce, which has been established to enhance the policing response to child sexual exploitation and abuse. There has also been an awareness raising campaign around the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel, and the Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme has published two ground-breaking reports that explore how policing understands the voice of the victim. We know that trust and confidence begins and ends with how policing engages with the victim, how we really listen and respond to support and safeguard that person. This is the golden thread that runs though all of our work and the two reports explore this in real depth. We are working closely with the College of Policing to enhance the professionalism of policing in tackling child abuse whether that be for our front line response, our specialist child protection staff or our senior leaders . We will continue to develop our workforce to ensure we can be proud of the service provided to all victims and survivors at any point they feel ready to come forward.
"As policing lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigation, what is most important to me is that victims and survivors of these appalling crimes have the confidence to come forward and talk to us about what has happened to them. It doesn’t matter when or where these offences took place; they matter, and if you are ready to report, we will listen. Our ambition is to eradicate these abhorrent acts from society, but until this becomes reality, let us help you achieve justice. This could be by going through the court system, or it could be supporting you to feel heard, and believed. When the time is right for you, we are here."