Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 780-786)



  780. In terms of compensation, there is an interesting suggestion from Mr Duggan that compensation does not necessarily need to be financial. Would others agree with the proposition that maybe we could remove compensation in these cases or restrict it, or change it into the form that Mr Duggan suggested?
  (Mr Tinnuche) Why are we treating them any differently to any other victim of abuse? If they have been sexually abused are they not entitled to the compensation that the Home Office leaflets direct them to?

  781. The suggestion is that through the investigations many false accusations are being generated, and that they may not be generated if there was no prospect of compensation.
  (Mr Grange) We would make the point, sir, that there have been many of these suggestions and there is as much a mythology about the compensation culture as there is about the paedophile ring. There has been no evidence adduced of officers waving cheques in front of people. The CICA person that came here pointed out that these 46,000 cheques from the CICA do not exist. What you are suggesting is that people have been saying things and, therefore, we should do something. Surely, before we should do something they should adduce some evidence that what they are saying is true as well. None of the investigative journalists that appeared before you produced any evidence to substantiate what they were saying, they merely said it.
  (Mr Langdon) Could I just say that in one big investigation in South Wales of a large residential home, 133 former residents had made complaints of one form or another, and to our knowledge only 32 of those have made any claim towards compensation, whether it be through the CICA or against the local authorities. So we are talking about less than a quarter of the people that we are aware of having made complaints have actually started the wheels going with regard to compensation.


  782. Is that not because you need a conviction first?
  (Mr Tinnuche) No, you do not need a conviction.

  783. But it helps.
  (Mr Tinnuche) It would help a claim. The CICA would have told you that last week. No, it does not prevent them from making a claim whether the matter goes to court or not.

  784. I understand that, but it obviously helps a lot if you have got a conviction.
  (Mr Tinnuche) That is what the CICA would say, yes.

Mr Singh

  785. Finally, is there any change at all that any of you would like to see with regard to the way investigations are conducted currently?
  (Mr Holland) Personally, no. It is a police investigation. Its objective is to establish the truth; if somebody is making an allegation, it is to find out "Is that allegation true?" Nobody is perfect and the investigations that are carried out do have safeguards built in; it goes through the judicial system, which is probably the most important point—it is tried and tested through the courts. People are convicted and people are acquitted.
  (Mr Langdon) Similarly, I cannot over-emphasise the policy and procedures that are adopted by these operations. I think if I was to make an observation about areas that could be improved, it would be in relation to things like defence statements. I think it is anomalous that we have a process that provides for defence statements and those statements are either not given on time or they are incomplete or they provide multiple defences.
  (Mr Duggan) As I said earlier, I would like to see some sort of national guidance on the question of disclosure, both of documentation from social services to the police and from the police to social services. I would like to see a fairness about that in terms of the prosecution and the defence having access to said documentation.


  786. Do any of you gentlemen want to make any point you have not been given an opportunity to make this morning?
  (Mr Grange) No, sir.

  Chairman: In that case, can I thank you for coming. You have been extremely helpful. The session is closed.


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