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Essex’s historic CSA team set to double investigators

Essex’s Quest team investigates non-recent CSA cases where the victim is now an adult and the abuser was an adult family member or in a position of responsibility over the victim.

Since they were established in 2019, the team have secured convictions in all the cases they have taken to trial - with offenders’ prison sentences totalling 46 years and eight months. 

Among the cases which have gone to court is that of Andrew Dutton who abused two boys in Benfleet in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He received a custodial sentence of 17 years. 

The oldest case the team has investigated dates back 60 years. 

The team is currently made up of one Detective Sergeant and six DCs, but will now expand to 14 DCs and two DSs. 

DS Shirley Cole who leads the team said: “People think it’s word against word and we’ll never be able to find proof, but we know what the Crown Prosecution Service want to bring charges.

“It can take time to bring these investigations to court but we are now beginning to see a lot of our cases coming to trial.

“Come forward and we will do our very best for you. All of us are very experienced in the world of sexual abuse investigations. There is a lot we can do to get cases charged.”

Quest will contact all victims in ongoing cases once every 28 days, and more frequently if they think more support is required. 

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