Essex Police urge victims of sexual abuse in foster or local authority care in 80s and 90s to come forward

Essex Police want victims to come forward.

Essex Police want victims to come forward. - Credit: Archant

A review into child sex offences against children during the 80s and 90s has been launched by Essex Police.

Serious concerns were raised about alleged offences against children, particularly boys in local authority or foster care, during the two decades during a meeting of police chiefs and staff involved in child protection work at that time.

The meeting, of chief constable Stephen Kavanagh, police and crime commissioner Nick Alston, retired district psychologist Robin Jamieson, former clinician manager of the Suffolk Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Service Jenny Grinsted and youth and probation officer Rob West, heard that, although two convictions were secured, investigations may not have been thorough enough.

Concerns were also raised about the support given to those who may have been victims of sexual abuse.

Chief constable Kavanagh said: “At present we have allegations but no victims, suspects or locations. But whether alleged abuse, especially organised and institutionalised, happened yesterday or thirty years ago, it’s our duty to review it without fear or favour. If you have information about such crimes or are yourself a victim or survivor of sexual abuse as a child during this period, I need you to come forward and contact us directly on 101, asking to speak to a specialist officer within our child abuse investigation teams.”

Mr Alston added: “The abuse of a child, whether in the care of their parents or the state, is an abhorrent crime. Professionals who worked in Essex during the 1980s and 1990s have raised serious concerns with both Chief Constable Kavanagh and I, and it is right that Essex Police examines these allegations meticulously and seeks out any new evidence. For an adult to come forward and report abuse suffered as a child takes real courage.

“I would say to anyone in this situation: please come forward and trust us. You can speak to Essex Police directly, or to a specialist organisation which can provide support and help.”

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INFORMATION: If you were a victim, call the National Association for People Abused in Childhood on 0808 801 0331 or CARA for north of Essex on 01206 769795.