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Abuse victims need justice

GREVILLE JANNER'S family insist that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision not to proceed with charges of sexual abuse of children means that he is "entirely innocent of any wrongdoing."

Their statement echoes similar protestations by members of serial predator Jimmy Savile's family.

Savile could not face criminal charges because he was dead.

Four medical experts have expressed their opinion that the scale of Janner's dementia renders him similarly untouchable, which has been accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

By the letter of the law, both men are innocent, having never been convicted in a court of law.

However, no-one now believes, in light of the overwhelming weight of evidence from survivors of his abuse, that Savile was anything but a prolific, serial sec offender.

He and others whose crimes have been laid bare following their deaths escaped retribution because they were powerful, well-connected men, protected by other rich and influential people.

The boys and girls they mistreated bore their abuse in silence or found their complaints dismissed contemptuously.

Religious, political and legal institutions failed tens of thousands of children raped and abused by those with the inclination, opportunity and power to do so.

That the victims were often resident in care homes and viewed by investigators as unreliable witnesses helped the perpetrators to cover their tracks.

The volume of accusations placed against Janner, after his victims plucked up the courage to speak out in the hope of seeing him prosecuted, convicted and jailed, should persuade people not to hide behind an "innocent until proven guilty" mantra.

In suspending his membership, the Labour Party clearly feels that it cannot avoid taking a stand on this matter.

It is unusual for senior police officers to dissent as firmly over a CPS no-action decision as Leicestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister has over the Janner case.

His observation that the decision will "do little to support and encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward" is indisputable.

Given the scale of Leicestershire Police's Operation Enamel, interviewing over 2,000 people with a view to uncovering the truth about a number of child molesters, the sense of frustration and disappointment over the CPS announcement is difficult to exaggerate.

Janner had been on the police radar since 1991 and there were four probes into his behaviour.

This is a common story in such cases, with police acting on evidence brought to their notice before having investigations closed down as a result of pressure from on high.

It is not good enough for the CPS to admit now that it had sufficient evidence to prosecute Janner over two decades ago but had not done so because of "mistakes".

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders' comment that "there are real lessons to be learned" is too often the cop-out used by those in authority to excuse diabolical decision-making and organisational failure.

It is difficult to work up any great enthusiasm for the inquiry into its handling of the case that CPS has asked Sir Richard Henriques to carry out.

Countless numbers of children were - and doubtless still are - systematically abused by influential men who rely on networks of like-minded people to protect them from answering their crimes.

Abuse victims need to hear apologies for what they went through, but they don't need platitudes about lessons to be learned.

They need their abusers unmasked now, not when they're dead or beyond reach. 

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