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Family court judge calls for sex abuse cases to be better investigated

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Family court judge calls for sex abuse cases to be better investigated

Mr Justice Peter Jackson, a senior family court judge, has made national headlines by speaking out about sex abuse cases not being investigated and going unsolved by the police following a case where our Partner Victoria Gethin acted for one of the abuse victims.

In a case of two teenagers the judge raised concerns after concluding that the step father had sexually abused his two stepchildren, a girl and a boy.

In a ruling on the case, he said he was satisfied to a "very high degree of probability" that the youngsters had been sexually abused and routinely subjected to violence by their stepfather.

Mr Justice Jackson had been asked to make "findings of fact" at a private family court hearing in Preston, Lancashire, by social workers with responsibility for making child welfare decisions.

“The perpetrators of sexual abuse are inadequate individuals who control weaker people, often children, for their own gratification. Their behaviour is always an abuse of power," said Mr Justice Jackson in the ruling.

"It takes courage to ask for help. Victims are beset by feelings of shame, guilt and fear. They should be able to have confidence that their accounts will be adequately investigated and that they will be appropriately supported.

"Instead, experience shows that the abuse is often compounded by sceptical or inadequate reactions within the family and beyond.

"The position of a complainant whose allegation is described as 'unsubstantiated' is extraordinarily difficult, but sometimes 'unsubstantiated' is no more than a euphemism for 'uninvestigated'."

He said his ruling would be made available to the police, Crown Prosecution Service and senior social services managers at the council.

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