Sex abuse reform ‘a step backwards’

The victims’ commissioner has accused senior police officers of taking a retrograde step over plans to abandon the national policy to believe alleged sexual abuse victims automatically.

Baroness Newlove said that victims of rape and sexual assault would be less likely to come forward if chief constables overturned the instruction to detectives to believe claims from the outset.

Lady Newlove, 56, who was appointed victims’ commissioner in 2012, said that a history of not being believed by police and poor treatment of rape victims had previously deterred them from reporting attacks.

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