Bid to ease child sex trial anguish
Judges should change the way that young victims give evidence in court to improve the conviction rates of abusers and rapists, according to a leaked report into child exploitation seen by The Times.
The Department of Education refused to give any details of the report, Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation, but The Times said it would outline government plans to help teenage victims of abuse testify in court.
The report is said to list 46 proposals, including restricting the cross-examination of victims in cases where there are multiple defendants in the dock.
In a foreword to the plan, Children's Minister Tim Loughton writes: "It is clear that this abuse can be perpetrated by individuals from all sections of society, and can be targeted at boys, girls, older and younger children, from stable and affluent homes as well as from less advantaged backgrounds, in urban and rural communities.
"It is a serious crime and must be treated as such, with the perpetrators pursued more rigorously."
Child sexual exploitation is defined by any situation where a child or young person receives something in exchange for performing sexual favours.