Child Sexual Abuse Victims

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons on 23rd April 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

What steps he is taking to ensure that the criminal justice system adequately supports victims of child sexual abuse.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are determined to ensure that support is in place for all victims of child sexual abuse. In particular, a range of special measures is available in court cases to assist and support victims of child sexual abuse to give their best evidence in criminal proceedings, including the provision of evidence via video links, recorded evidence-in-chief, screens around the witness box and access to an independent sexual violence adviser.

Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

I recognise the good work done to support victims of child sexual abuse, but access to compensation is key to that. The Minister will know that in 2017, of the 6,861 cases in which someone was found guilty of child sexual abuse, in only 26 was a criminal compensation order awarded. That is 0.4%. Will he work with me and others in the House to ensure we get victims of child sexual abuse the compensation they deserve?

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the very powerful and, indeed, very personal speech that he made recently when presenting a ten-minute rule Bill on this subject. I should be happy to meet him, with my officials, to discuss this further.

Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

Given that so many victims of child sexual abuse have spoken out about their horrendous experiences through the family courts, what consideration is being given to a full inquiry into the treatment in those courts of women and girls who have suffered domestic abuse and violence?

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I know that the hon. Lady speaks about this subject with passion and knowledge, and that she has championed a number of those who have suffered in the past. She has highlighted a very important point. As she will know, the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. and learned Friend Lucy Frazer, and I—along with members of the judiciary and others—are looking closely into what can be done to ensure that the family courts themselves continue to ensure that the voices of victims of child sexual abuse are heard, and that they are responded to appropriately.