A York man who has fought for a change in the law in memory of his tragic brother said he "cried tears" after his campaign won backing from the secretary of state for justice.

As revealed by The Press last month, filmmaker Kev Curran, 43, from Clifton, has been campaigning in memory of his brother Declan, who took his own life aged just 13 in 1995.

Kev says Declan had been sexually abused and a trial was pending against the alleged perpetrator.

But Declan was denied counselling to help him deal with his trauma because the family was told that such intervention might contaminate evidence ahead of a forthcoming trial.

Since Declan's death, Kev has been calling for a mandatory offer of counselling to all victims of sex abuse, including before a trial, in a bid to help people like his brother.

York Press: Declan CurranDeclan Curran

Now, during a second reading in Parliament of the Victims and Prisoners Bill, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk, has offered Kev hope.

It came after York Central MP Rachael Maskell raised Kev's campaign in the House of Commons.

She asked the secretary of state to recognise that child victims of sex abuse should be able to access counselling without delay, and that this should not be seen as interference in evidence ahead of a trial.


Speaking in the debate, the secretary of state said: "It's incredibly important that child victims do receive the support they need. That should not be a bar to them giving a video recorded piece of evidence, for example, so they can participate in that trial as well."

He added: "The general principle is this, if children, child victims, who of course are victims within the ambit of the bill, need that support they should get it."

Kev said he was grateful to Ms Maskell for raising the issue - and he had "cried tears" of emotion.

He said: "We have heard the words spoken, we now need to seek action to ensure this important issue is addressed within the bill.

"I felt elated because I have fought for nearly two decades and felt like a man screaming into a void for change - a change that seems obvious and something you wouldn’t expect to have to fight for."

York Press: Rachael Maskell MP, left, and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex ChalkRachael Maskell MP, left, and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk

Ms Maskell said: "Labour have been arguing that video evidence taken at the time should be used in a trial so the survivor can get the help they need. The vehicle for ensuring this is the Victims and Prisoners Bill, which held its second reading on Monday of this week (May 15), where assurances were given by the justice secretary that help would be available.

"I am grateful to Kev Curran and his family for their persistent campaigning to ensure that no family has to experience the loss that they did when Declan took his life, at just 13 years old without the very support he needed. This will change because of their tenacity and my interventions on this matter."

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