NSPCC calls for trained support for sex abuse witnesses

Over 23,000 child sex abuse offences were recorded over the last year within England and Wales. Yet less than 25% were prosecuted. The NSPCC is calling for the introduction of better access to a registered intermediary who can explain court proceeding to children who are giving evidence at a sex abuse case. Intermediary services have been available to 43 Police and Crown Prosecution service areas since 2008, but they are not being used effectively. This service is only being received by 2% of the children involved in sex abuse cases.


These children have to publicly relive the most traumatic, upsetting and humiliating experience of their lives in order to try and get justice. (Peter Wanless CEO, NSPCC)


NSPCC research reveals that children who are involved in these trials demonstrate symptoms of stress leading up to the trial, and many were unable to understand the questions asked in court.


I am feeling so nervous about giving evidence in court. They are making me explain exactly what happened but I’m not sure I can cope with things like that just yet. Sometimes I wish I had never said anything. I feel like I have lost everything now and can’t cope anymore. (Child interviewed for NSPCC report).


Sex abuse cases can be very stressful and confusing to many young people and children. The NSPCC claim that the improvement and expansion of registered intermediary services would support and improve children’s understanding of sex abuse court cases, and their role as a witness.


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British Youth CouncilChildren's Rights Alliance for EnglandKIDSNational Council for Voluntary Youth ServicesNational Youth AgencyNCB