OXFORD West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood has called for special measures for vulnerable victims to be rolled out nationally in the wake of the Rotherham sex exploitation scandal.
The politician wants pre-recorded evidence to be used across the country in trials where victims could be affected by intimidation, such as sexual abuse cases.
She was addressing Home Secretary Theresa May on the report by Professor Alexis Jay which found that at least 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham. Speaking in the House of Common Ms Blackwood said: “Professor Jay’s report has shocked the nation and we have rightly heard many calls for prosecutions, but that relies on a criminal justice process that protects victims from the kind of intimidation and disbelief that seems to have been endemic in Rotherham.
“The Government’s pilot on pre-recorded evidence is a vital tool for protecting very vulnerable witnesses from being re-traumatised in the court process and for increasing the chances of prosecutions.” Under the provisions, vulnerable victims would be allowed to have their evidence and cross-examinations pre-recorded.
Ms Blackwood secured a change in the law which gave police officers new powers to pursue civil court orders against suspected child sex abusers – even if they cannot be prosecuted in a criminal court.
Her campaign followed Operation Bullfinch – the investigation into the grooming and abuse of young and vulnerable girls in Oxford, which led to seven men being jailed for a total of 95 years last June.
Mrs May replid: “My honourable friend is absolutely right, and I commend her for the work she did following the revelations in Oxford to help us to change the legislation to strengthen the ability to deal with such issues.
“The Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims is waiting for the full evaluation of the pilot. We would want to be able to roll it out, but it is right that we should look to ensure that we do that in the right way.”
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
7:32am Tuesday 31st March 2015
OXFORD University has been told to provide more information about a key assessment of the controversial Castle Mill student flats after claims it contained “omissions”.
7:10am Tuesday 31st March 2015
THE manager of a Bangladeshi restaurant given a food hygiene rating of zero out of five has branded the decision unfair.
7:00am Tuesday 31st March 2015
INTERNATIONAL folk star Donovan is returning to perform in Oxford 50 years after a gig that started a lifelong friendship.
7:03pm Monday 30th March 2015
PROTESTERS gathered in the pouring rain at a vigil in East Oxford to voice calls for an independent inquiry into Operation Bullfinch.
6:03pm Monday 30th March 2015
A 34-year-old woman was pushed to the ground and had her bag taken from her in Faringdon.
5:00pm Monday 30th March 2015
AN EXTRA 59p a week council tax in Littlemore could pay for a dedicated community worker, it has been claimed.