Police call centre staff attacked for ‘insensitive’ handling of victims

Andi Lavery - formed abuse victims support group
Andi Lavery – police call centre staff ‘shouted’ as he made complaint

THE SUPPORT GROUP leader behind claims of historical abuse at Pluscarden Abbey in the 1960s and 1980s has criticised the police response to the complaints.

Leader of the White Flower Alba support group, Andi Lavery, said that he was badly treated by police call centre staff when he first attempted to report the accusations of two men who have claimed they were assaulted at the Abbey.

Now he is demanding that Police Scotland reassure victims that any complaints they make will be treated seriously.

Mr Lavery said that he understood police call centre staff have protocol to follow – but that reporting abuse was different from reporting a stolen bike.

He said: “The police were a nightmare to deal with – I was shown no basic humanity. When I called I asked to be put through to the new child abuse unit – which was established three months ago – as I was unwilling to detail sexual assaults with someone in a call centre.

“But I was pressed to give the details of the complaints, including their names. I offered my name and said I would liaise with the men involved but the woman started shouting at me and it went south from there.”

Mr Lavery has called on Scotland’s top police officer, Sir Stephen House, to develop a new way of handling sensitive inquiries of the nature his group are requesting, adding that the police “should not be our enemy”.

Police Scotland stressed again that the force was committed to thoroughly investigating all claims of child abuse.