Sarah Launches Inquiry into Police Handling of Victims of Crime
Rotherham's MP Sarah Champion has confirmed that the dismissive attitude shown to victims of abuse by some police officers is occurring across the country. Sarah's claims come following an article by Andrew Norfolk in The Times, reporting that police officers dismissed abuse victims as "silly girls", and did not take their claims seriously. They also come as Sarah prepares to launch a new Parliamentary inquiry into Police handling of victims of crime. As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Victims and Witnesses of Crime, which is currently calling for evidence of how the police work with young victims, Sarah condemned the dismissive attitude shown towards victims.
The article by Andrew Norfolk in The Times came as no surprise to me. I have been meeting victims of child sexual grooming from across the UK, and they consistently say that the police belittle their situation. Often they are told that they brought it upon themselves. Almost every victim I have spoken to said they regarded their interaction with the police as a second form of abuse.
Earlier in the year I carried out a parliamentary inquiry on child sexual exploitation with the charity Barnardo's, and it became very clear that part of the problem was the way that police worked with vulnerable young victims. I have made a number of recommendations to the Government on how this needs to be addressed, and I have presented them directly to Teresa May.
I am now moving into a new phase of inquiry, along with the APPG for Victims and Witnesses of Crime, and I am currently calling for written evidence on the police handling of young victims, and what support is available to them. This will lead to a number of recommendations which I will demand be implemented. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue.