MP voices ‘complicity’ concern over sex abuse

Lisa Nandy MP
Lisa Nandy MP

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has called on the government to put pressure on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to protect the interests of child sexual exploitation victims.

The Labour representative believes the controversial issue of “complicity”, in child sex cases, needs to be addressed by the CICA.

In a House of Commons debate, Ms Nandy said: “One barrier to successful prosecutions in child sexual exploitation cases is the fact that, too often, victims are wrongly thought to be complicit in their own exploitation.”

Her Labour colleague, the Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, had earlier called for the CICA’s guidance to be updated, so children could not be held to be “complicit” in their own abuse, there would be greater protection for youngsters forced into criminal activities through grooming and compensation was available for family abuse victims in cases recorded before 1979.

Ms Nandy added: “There must be absolutely no suggestion in any Government guidance that children can be complicit in their own exploitation.

“That is why the guidance from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority needs to be changed — and needs to be changed now.”

In reply, Home Office minister Dominic Raab said: “The honourable lady makes a powerful point.

“No one wants to lay the blame at the door of any victim, let alone the most vulnerable — in this case children.”

He said that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, would be examining the CICA’s guidance “in the context of the issues that have arisen recently” in due course.

He added: “It operates in a different context from the criminal justice system, in that it can apply when there has not been a criminal conviction.”

Justice Secretary David Lidington also said the guidance would be changed so no victim said to have provided “consent” to sexual activity through grooming, would be disqualified from receiving the appropriate level of compensation.

He told the Commons that the government was also in discussions with Barnado’s and Victim Support regarding possible future changes to CICA procedures.

The Wigan MP has previously tabled a number of Parliamentary questions concerning the national child sex abuse inquiry, now chaired by Prof Alex Jay.