06:00AM, Monday 07 July 2014
Theresa May addressed the House of Commons today and criticised public bodies for failing to act on child abuse allegations.
Mrs May explained that the Home Office was given information by former Huddersfield West MP Geoffrey Dickens between 1979 and 1995.
Mr Dickens wrote several letters to home secretaries that contained allegations of sexual offences against children, however none of Mr Dickens’ letters accuse any ‘prominent public figures’ of abuse.
The Maidenhead MP and Home Secretary said: “In recent years, we have seen appalling cases of organised and persistent child sex abuse.
"This includes abuse by celebrities like Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris, as well as the systematic abuse of vulnerable girls in Derby, Rochdale, Oxford and other towns and cities.
“Some of these cases have exposed a failure by public bodies to take their duty of care seriously and some have shown that the organisations responsible for protecting children from abuse – including the police, social services and schools – have failed to work together properly.
“That is why, in April 2013, the Government established the National Group to tackle Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People, which is led by my Hon Friend the Minister for Crime Prevention.
“This cross-government group was established to learn the lessons from some of the cases I have mentioned and the resulting reviews and inquiries. As a result of its work, we now have better guidance for the police and prosecutors, new powers for the police to get information from hotels that are used for child sexual exploitation, and better identification of children at risk of exploitation through the use of local multi-agency safeguarding hubs.”
Mrs May went onto say that the Government will establish an independent panel to consider whether public bodies have taken their duty of care to children seriously.
She promised the government will ‘do everything we can’ to investigate child abuse and prosecute abusers, adding ‘we will do nothing to jeopardise those aims’.
Mrs May said: “We will make sure that wherever individuals and institutions have failed to protect children from harm, we will expose these failures and learn the lessons.”