Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

UN concerned over child sex abuse in UK custody

The United Nations revealed abuse of over 1,000 children in detention in eight years

The United Nations said the internet had offered new opportunities for sexual predators to exploit children. Getty Images
The United Nations said the internet had offered new opportunities for sexual predators to exploit children. Getty Images

The United Nations has raised concerns about the sexual abuse of children in detention in the UK.

Its Committee Against Torture cited a report that revealed the abuse of some 1,070 children in custody between 2009-2017.

The committee called on the UK to ensure the allegations of custodial violence were quickly and impartially investigated.

Following a review at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, the committee said it was “seriously concerned” that complaints were rarely investigated, as well as by the lack of information the government provided as to how many of these allegations were criminally investigated.

It added that it wasn’t made aware of the outcome of any such investigations by the state.

The committee also called for the age of criminal responsibility, currently 10 in England and Wales and 12 in Scotland, to be raised.

The UN said the UK must report back on the abuse of children in custody and on Northern Ireland within a year.

It added that the government should “establish effective inspection and complaints mechanisms that are genuinely accessible to children in detention, and maintain effective monitoring” and “ensure that judges, prosecutors and members of the police receive specialised training in preventing and dealing with claims of abuse of children in detention.”

The committee also called on prisons to recruit and train a sufficient number of personnel to improve security, reduce violence and ensure detainees are adequately treated.

A government spokesperson said it would note the recommendations, adding that the UK had a tradition of protecting human rights.

Updated: May 29, 2019 03:59 AM

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