Mum speaks of anger over abuse

A DISTRAUGHT Ipswich mum has today spoken of her anger after an investigation into claims her three-year-old daughter was raped by a family friend was dropped.

A DISTRAUGHT Ipswich mum has today spoken of her anger after an investigation into claims her three-year-old daughter was raped by a family friend was dropped.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told The Evening Star her world was turned upside down when her young daughter claimed she had been abused by a 14-year-old boy.

She said she is convinced her daughter is telling the truth and is furious that despite a three-week investigation, during which the boy in question was arrested and interviewed, no charges will be brought.

She claims police:

Did not take the time to build a relationship with her daughter prior to quizzing her on such a harrowing experience

Gave up too quickly when her daughter clammed up in front of specialist officers

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Opted not to carry out a medical examination which could have provided vital evidence

The mother said her daughter, who has recently turned four, spoke up about the alleged incident on February 3 as the family sat together for a meal.

She said: “The name of the boy came up in conversation and she turned round and said 'I hate him'.

“I asked her why and she said 'he hurt me, I want to hurt him'.

“Prior to that she had told me he had been 'rude' and that she didn't like him but I didn't think anything of it at the time.

“I started asking her questions but she didn't want to speak about it. Eventually she opened up to her grandmother while I was in the same room.

“I just burst into tears when I heard what she was saying - I had to leave the room because I didn't want her to see me cry and have her think she had done something wrong.

“She said that when it was happening she cried and cried for mummy but I wasn't there to help her. He threatened her and told her she would have to sit on the naughty stool if she didn't stop crying.”

The family immediately contacted police who made a log of the incident and arranged a meeting with an officer and a social worker.

This was followed by an attempt to record the girl's evidence on video camera.

The mother said her daughter found the whole process difficult and was unwilling to speak to officers on the first occasion.

On the day of the video recording session the mother claims she was told her daughter did not speak clearly enough to go ahead with the session.

At the end of last month she was told by police that the investigation will not be pursued.

She said: “I'm disgusted with it. I don't think they tried hard enough to be honest.

“I was told that they would get to know my daughter so she would feel comfortable speaking to them but they didn't have enough time for her.

“They asked me to consider whether I wanted her to have a medical examination but contacted me the same day and told me doctors wouldn't agree to it because they felt it could be too traumatic for her to go through.

“They told me they were dropping the case because it was the word of a three-year-old against the word of a 14-year-old.

“This has traumatised her and will be with her for the rest of her life - I can't believe nothing will be done about it.”

Suffolk police declined to comment on the case although DI Stuart McCullum, head of the child abuse investigation (CAIU) unit for south Suffolk, told The Evening Star that all allegations of child abuse are investigated fully and in accordance with strict guidelines.

He said there are a variety of reasons why an investigation may be dropped.

These include if a child does not, cannot or will not speak about the incident, a lack of support from a witness, if it is felt a prosecution may cause trauma for the alleged victim or if the police or CPS decide to drop the case through lack of evidence.

Have you been through a similar situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Police procedure for child abuse allegations:

1) DISCLOSURE

An initial allegation will be logged by either police or social services depending on who was contacted in the first instance

2) STRATEGY MEETING

The child abuse investigation unit will meet with Suffolk County council's children and young people's services.

Discussions will include what each body should do about the allegation, timescales involved.

3) FIRST MEETING

A joint team consisting of a CAIU officer and CYP officer will meet with the alleged victim, and usually a parent or guardian, to speak to them and find out whether there is an issue to investigate.

4) VIDEO RECORDED INTERVIEW

If the officers decide an interview is needed the child will be taken to a purpose-built police victim care centre where a taped interview will take place.

This is the first opportunity the child will be given the opportunity to recount in detail the alleged offence.

5) PREPERATION OF PROSECUTION FILE / CARE PROCEEDINGS

If the investigation reaches this stage police will begin to prepare a prosecution file while social services will provide support for the family.

At this stage some of the more complicated cases can involve the beginning of care proceedings i.e. if the alleged abuse is said to have been committed by a family member.

6) LIASON WITH CPS

Police will liaise with the CPS to decide whether there is enough information to proceed with charges and a possible court case.

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