Calls for law change after Rotherham sex abuse revelations

Keir Starmer QC
Keir Starmer QC
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Former director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer has called for a change in the law to introduce mandatory reporting of child sex abuse.

The QC, who now advises the Labour Party on justice issues, also said there was a ‘cultural issue’ in relation to victims not being believed.

He SAID where there had been a failure of leadership, people ‘ought to go’.

But he added: “It is all very well calling for resignations and removals of individuals but we are fooling ourselves if we think that is the real answer here.

“We are mistaken if we think this is all about a few individuals.

“There is a wall of disbelief over the years which went on with numerous individuals.

“There is a cultural issue in relation to vulnerable victims that they are not believed.

“Unless we grasp that central issue, that cultural shift, then we will have further reports like this.

“So of course accountability now, of course focus on the individuals, but miss the bigger picture and we will be here again having this debate next year, in five years, in 10 years.

“We have to accept the enormity of this culture of disbelief.”

Mr Starmer said the case for mandatory reporting was now ‘overwhelming’.

He said: “It is most acute where there’s a conflict of interest where individuals who learn of something have a conflict between doing something about it and some other interest they are concerned about.

“But the idea that in 2014 we are not obliged as a matter of criminal law to report and do something about this sort of abuse is simply not acceptable any more.”