Child sexual abuse victims have been handed fresh hope they will receive the help they need after a York campaigner met with a Government chief.

Kev Curran, whose brother Declan took his own life 28 years ago after suffering sexual abuse, was joined by York Central MP Rachael Maskell for a meeting with Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk.

Kev, 43, from Clifton, has fought hard for justice for Declan, and children across the country, who he says have been failed by the justice system.

Kev says Declan received no support following child sexual abuse and was told he could not talk about his case with anyone for risk of contaminating evidence ahead of the forthcoming trial.

Just days before he was due to testify in court against his alleged abuser, he took his own life. He was 13 years old.

Since then, Kev has fought for children to receive help following their abuse, and has called for the child victim to be at the centre of all proceedings.

In May this year, when the Victims and Prisoners Bill was introduced to the House of Commons, Ms Maskell raised Declan’s case with the Secretary of State for Justice, who agreed to meet with Kev and the MP on June 28.

Mr Chalk outlined changes to the system including strengthening the Victim’s Charter and ensuring that the police and Crown Prosecution Service know their responsibilities to the survivor of abuse.

There will now need to be a justifiable cause before defence barristers have access to the survivor’s medical notes, which will result in far better protection for people who have been assaulted, the justice secretary said.

Kev said he felt proud to speak for thousands of child victims at such a high level of government.

He said: "The minister spoke with integrity that no child should be denied support, I just want assurances written into the bill. Children must never be denied professional support at the time they need it. It’s a horrific crime to live through, effecting you mentally and emotionally. I still carry those scars but want to use them to bring about change.


“For years I felt like I was a lone voice shouting into a void, feeling unheard, discarded and heartbroken. A feeling shared by countless survivors who have reached out to me through my campaign for Declan’s Law. The system let us down and didn’t offer necessary counselling. This still happens, almost three decades later. This is why I have sought justice and rights for children who experience trauma.

York Press: Rachael Maskell MP and Justice Secretary Alex ChalkRachael Maskell MP and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is turn the tragedy of Declan’s suicide into real change that can protect future child victims. The law and its processes need to understand traumatised children, putting their wellbeing at the heart of the process.

“I’m eternally grateful to Rachael that through her intervention in the House of Commons my silence has now been broken and I was able to share my lived experience with the justice secretary.

“I found Alex Chalk very compassionate and empathetic towards me and he thanked me for my passion in continuing to fight for child victims rights. He not only validated Declan’s story, but all children who have experienced child sexual abuse."

Ms Maskell said: “After such tragedy, I am in awe of Kev and his family for their tenacity in campaigning for justice. Kev, in being able to tell Declan’s story to the justice secretary has been able to give hope to many victims of child sexual abuse so that they get the help they need."

She added: "Much has changed since Declan lost his life, but improvements are still necessary. I am grateful that, in meeting with the justice secretary, we were able to further the case for ‘Declan’s Law’.”