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UK Law Lords’ Landmark Ruling On Sex Abuse

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 1, 2008

Breaking 400 years of precedents, Great Britain’s law Lords have ruled that it possible for those alleging sexual abuse to take legal action even years later.

One wonders whether the Manmohan Singh Government in India has the will or the capability of making such major changes in India. Certainly, it has made a beginning with its major study of child abuse in India. See my articles: Child Abuse. Landmark Indian Government Study. Abuse of Indian children ‘common’ and Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act? and Dr Naresh Bhatia. Silenced Now In Indian Child Abuse Scourge

Whilst it is true – as activists (see below) make a point of urging – that such legal remedies are far too often the province of those who can afford it, nonetheless the existence of strong laws surrounding sexual abuse can help to influence further social reform. There has to be a strong constellation of responses. It is the case that, for example, many Nazi war criminals escaped the reach of formal justice. But this does not mean the the Nuremburg trials did not send powerful signals and highlight some very great evils.

Those who would attempt to somehow ‘wish’ evil away by averting the gaze and so-called ‘moving on’ help to perpetuate the very evils which they think they have little or no relationship to or responsibility for.

Especially among those who deem themselves ‘spiritual’, there is a lot of confusion about the significant differences between forgiving and forgetting. See my articles: Bernie Banton Case. Mega Poor Can Fight Mega Rich and Dalai Lama: Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness

The following are excepts from the BBC report Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 13:10 GMT 


Lords issue landmark abuse ruling
“Victims of sexual abuse may be able to sue their attackers after many years, following a ruling by the Law Lords. 
(Quote from Baroness Hale):
“A fair trial can be possible long after the event and sometimes the law has no choice”  
Leading child abuse lawyer Tracey Storey, of solicitors Irwin Mitchell, said the decision ended the “bizarre situation” which meant child abuse victims over the age of 24 could not sue their abusers.
David Greenwood of Jordans Solicitors, which also represents victims of child abuse, agreed that the ruling would “empower” people to come forward.
“Victims of sexual and physical abuse in care establishments can now be confident that even after many years they will be treated seriously and sympathetically by lawyers and the courts,” he said.
But Victim Support said that while it welcomed the ruling, it believed it would help only a small number of people.
“It’s very good news for her but the wider significance is questionable because the vast majority of offenders don’t have assets to chase,” said spokesman Paul Fawcett.

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