Belfast Telegraph

Call for NCA to join Fermanagh child sex abuse investigation

The National Crime Agency should be called in to assist PSNI investigations into the growing number of historical child sex abuse allegations in Co Fermanagh, according to DUP peer Lord Morrow. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The National Crime Agency should be called in to assist PSNI investigations into the growing number of historical child sex abuse allegations in Co Fermanagh, according to DUP peer Lord Morrow. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Staff Reporter

The National Crime Agency should be called in to assist PSNI investigations into the growing number of historical child sex abuse allegations in Co Fermanagh, according to DUP peer Lord Morrow.

The former chair of Stormont’s Justice Committee also said the sheer scale of the alleged abuse — with more than 50 victims making claims about more than 60 men — is “a wholly unprecedented situation”.

Speaking to the Impartial Reporter newspaper, Lord Morrow said: “No one doubts the incredibly difficult task facing police officers — but I would urge that be balanced against the suffering in silence which has been endured for too long by too many victims.

“If officers are stretched due to the scale, bring in the National Crime Agency.”

He said it was his view that many victims had been let down, “some through a lacklustre and dismissive approach by police”.

“Others did not dare to go to police because it simply wasn’t done in their communities,” he said. “Abuse was permitted to continue without fear of detection or retribution.

“Anyone who tolerated such conduct in the knowledge or even suspicion that it was occurring, are no less at fault than the abusers.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster also praised the courage of victims who had come forward to reveal their abuse.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA  said: “Where wrongdoing has taken place it must be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

Following Lord Morrow’s intervention, the PSNI has invited both the peer and Mrs Foster to meet Detective Chief Inspector Paula Hilman next week.

Ms Hilman, who is the PSNI Head of Public Protection, last night said: “I look forward to providing them with reassurance that my officers in the Public Protection Branch are committed and trained to deal with victims of abuse.

“On a daily basis they receive and investigate reports of child sexual abuse, both recent and historical.

“Hopefully this informed briefing will reassure him that the needs of victims are central to our investigation and that our approach is far from ‘lacklustre and dismissive’.”

Abuse survivors will attend a rally at the Diamond in Enniskillen tomorrow at 2pm.

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