Historical Child Abuse Investigations: The Experiences of the Survivors

Matthew Colton, University of Wales
Maurice Vanstone, University of Swansea

During recent years police forces throughout the United Kingdom have launched investigations into historical cases of abuse in residential, group and foster homes for children and youth. Indeed, all but two of the 49 mainland forces have completed or are working on such inquiries. This paper is based on an analysis of one such investigation, which involved both the Police and Social Service Departments. It draws on interviews conducted of a sample of victims/survivors who were involved in the investigation. Rather than focusing on their experience of the abuse, the interviews concentrated on the effect upon them of the process of the investigation itself, including making the complaint, giving statements and evidence, and support from both police and social workers. The authors review the implications of the victim/survivors' stories, and identify a number of lessons for future investigations of this kind.

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Updated 05/20/2006