Statement in response to the publication of the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
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Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thorne said:
“South Wales Police has welcomed the opportunity to engage and contribute to this important investigation and has been fully committed to supporting the Inquiry from the outset. We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of justice for all victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, whenever the offence took place.
“The report highlights areas of good practice and identifies areas where improvement was needed. We acknowledge that we must all work harder to ensure that victims have the confidence to come forward and report what has happened to them.
“We are fully committed to learning the lessons of past investigations to ensure we can protect vulnerable people and provide them with the best level of support and investigate allegations to the very highest standards.
“We are working hard to address the issues regarding the recording of important information such as ethnicity, disability and other protected characteristics on police systems which will help us build up a more informative picture.
“Many of the recommendations and good practice identified in this report have already been embedded across our work. While different forms of children sex abuse has evolved over time, so have our practices and our investment in this complex area of policing, with more specialist officers working daily to protect vulnerable people than ever before. We welcome the recommendations made by the Inquiry especially any changes to the law which allow for greater sanctions for those who exploit children in this way.
“We now work far closer and effectively with a range of partner agencies to spot signs of sexual abuse and exploitation far earlier so we are able to offer intervention to support victims and bring offenders to justice.
“Investigating non-recent allegations of child sexual abuse has required us to invest in dedicated resources with specialist officers and staff to investigate allegations of this nature.
“The relationship between survivors and the police is now one of predominantly trust and positivity and offers a far more effective service to victims and survivors.
“We have countless examples of where victims of non-recent abuse have had the trust and confidence in policing to come forward to report their experiences, where they have been believed and an investigation of the highest standard has resulted in perpetrators being sent to prison for offences committed several decades earlier. It is pleasing to note that our work to disrupt this area of criminality has been recognised by the Inquiry.
“We need to ensure that all victims of child sexual abuse are properly supported once they have made the brave first step of coming forward to report the abuse to which they have been subjected.
“I believe that we have demonstrated our commitment to protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation now and in the future, as an organisation and as an integral member of the wider network of partners who keep young people safe.
“We welcome the recommendations and will now need to consider the detail of the report which will allow us to improve the service to victims as well as those who are at risk of exploitation. We will continue to play an active part in implementing those recommendations which are for policing nationally and our partners.
“I encourage anyone who considers that they or someone close to them may be experiencing such abuse or be at risk of such abuse to come forward and report it to police.”