Police burning out after surge of historic abuse cases

Police officers in the United Kingdom investigating hundreds of historic child sex abuse cases are at breaking point psychologically, a clinician warns.

Dr Noreen Tehrani, who advises specialist child abuse detectives,says many officers suffering exhaustion, secondary trauma and stress.

Pressure from politicians has also forced officers to divert attention from children at risk now to historic cases, The Guardian reports.

Dr Tehrani said this places children currently at risk of abuse in greater danger.

“[Officers] are just completely inundated with work, they are beginning to collapse,” Dr Tehrani said

There aren’t enough officers in these specialist teams, she said.

Some officers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder themselves, she said.

Dr Tehrani said she would write to the UK Home Secretary about the issue.

Allegations in the UK have increased dramatically following the exposure of celebrities such as Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall.

Officers are dealing with hundreds of historic cases involving abuse in institutions including schools, churches, children’s homes and a number of allegations relating to high profile people.

Their workload is likely to increase with the establishment of the wide ranging inquiry led by Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, announced by ministers last week.

But Lady Butler-Sloss, a retired judge and peer, is herself facing accusations that she kept allegations about a Church of England bishop out of a report on a paedophile scandal.

In 2011, she told a victim of alleged abuse that she did not want to include the claims because “the press would love a bishop”.

Lady Butler-Sloss cited the bishop’s age and her desire that the focus be on two notorious Church of England paedophile clerics.

She said she would mention the allegations about the bishop in a private report to the Archbishop of Canterbury instead.

Bishop Peter Ball, 82, the former Bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester, was charged this year with indecent assault offences and misconduct in a public office.

Lady Butler-Sloss was also forced to apologise for “inaccuracies” in a previous inquiry into two paedophile priests.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk said “there is information coming out by the day which suggests she [Lady Butler-Sloss] is unsuitable for the role”.

A Home Office spokesman expressed support for Lady Butler-Sloss’s integrity and her suitability to lead the inquiry.


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