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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Net-widening in True and False Allegations of Historical Abuse Seminar

Economic, Social and Political Sciences
16:00 - 17:00
13 November 2013
Building 58 Room 1065 Highfield Campus

Event details

The crime rate in England and Wales is falling overall but there has been a steep rise in reports of rape and child abuse, particularly retrospective reports (historical allegations).

Achieving justice is often difficult in charges of sexual abuse and non-violent physical/mental abuse, because unless interactions are caught on camera or recorded, there’s no trace to prove that a crime did or did not happen, and so criminal proceedings are dependent on verbal testimony. This is particularly the case with historical allegations of abuse. Errors can be made either way, in which the guilty go free or innocent people get convicted. Over the last few decades there has been a movement to give much greater support to victims of crime and to protect people from the threat of dangerous offenders. Developments in the last year have given this considerable momentum such that many more people will be ‘brought to justice’. The example of alleged widespread sexual abuse and paedophile rings in residential children’s homes will be explored to examine the implications.

Speaker information

Dr Ros Burnett , Senior Research Associate of the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. Dr Ros Burnett is a Senior Research Associate of the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, with extensive experience as a researcher and teacher of criminal justice. Her books include Joined-up Youth Justice (Russell House, 2003, with C. Appleton) and Where Next for Criminal Justice? (The Policy Press, 2011, with D. Faulkner). She is a research consultant to and committee member of FACT (Falsely Accused Carers, Teachers and other professionals) and an associate editor of the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

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