- Report condemned for failing to identify those responsible
- ‘Political correctness’ behind report not naming race or religion of perpetrators
- Father of one of the victims says staff concerned should be ‘named, shamed, and sacked’
By JACK DOYLE
PUBLISHED: 00:48, 28 September 2012 | UPDATED: 00:48, 28 September 2012
No social workers have been sacked or suspended over their failure to prevent the systematic rape and abuse of white teenage girls by an Asian gang.
A report into the Rochdale sex abuse scandal was condemned yesterday for failing to identify those responsible, none of whom have faced disciplinary action.
The report was also attacked for making no mention of the race or religion of the perpetrators, all Muslims and all but one from Pakistani backgrounds, although critics say ‘political correctness’ was behind the failure to act.
The review was carried out by Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, whose members include the police, council, the NHS and prosecutors, and was itself responsible for organising child protection between different agencies in the area.
A father of one of the victims said the 29-page report told him ‘nothing new’. He said: ‘The staff concerned should be named, shamed and sacked.
‘I don’t want them transferred to another department, pensioned off or given early retirement. Their wrongdoing, their negligence, their mistakes, have ruined lives.’
And he added: ‘I do spot that there’s no reference to the question of race in the report, as to whether that was a factor in their lack of willingness to act.’
Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk said the report was ‘limited’ and failed to ‘give a voice to the victims or explain why social services had a culture of blaming the victims for the abuse’.
The abuse centred around nine men, eight of Pakistani origin and one from Afghanistan, who worked for or were connected to taxi firms and takeaway food outlets.
They plied teenage girls with drink and passed them around for sex.
One victim was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night. Two became pregnant as a result and one had an abortion aged just 13.
The gang were finally jailed for between four and nine years at Liverpool Crown Court in May after being found guilty of offences such as rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with girls under the age of 16.
Judge Gerald Clifton told the gang: ‘I believe that one of the factors that led to that was that they were not of your community or religion.’
The gang’s leader, Shabir Ahmed, had repeatedly suggested during the trial that he was the victim of a ‘white conspiracy’.
Despite more than 100 reports of abuse dating back as far as 2004, social workers regarded the victims, some as young as ten, as ‘making their own choices’ or even working as prostitutes.
They failed to pass all the allegations to the police.
One couple were told their teenage daughter was simply ‘hanging out with a bad crowd’. Another were told to ‘set boundaries’.
Instead of identifying those responsible, yesterday’s report blamed a lack of proper training and procedures.
It even attempted to shift blame to the aftermath of the Baby Peter case because it made social workers focus on very young children being abused.
Last night Rochdale Council confirmed that no one had been sacked, suspended or otherwise disciplined over the case.
A spokesman added: The council will be doing its own report. This is an issue that will be looked at then.’
Victims are now preparing legal action against the council and demanding compensation.
The lawyer for one said there was ‘clear evidence that social services failed to intervene when they had information about grooming and exploitation of young girls.’
FAILURES THAT LEFT ABUSE VICTIMS TO THEIR FATE
There were signs for many years that men were using vulnerable young girls in Rochdale for sex, but no action was taken. Here we highlight the failures.
From the outset, social workers failed to regard the teenage girls being passed around for sex among a gang of Asian men as victims.
That was despite more than 100 reports of abuse from the victims, health workers and elsewhere linked to men working in taxi and takeaway businesses dating back to 2004, and involving children as young as ten. Instead the girls were treated as their attackers treated them, ‘like prostitutes’.
Victims as young as ten were seen as ‘making their own choice’ and ‘engaging in consensual sexual activity’.
In one case a parent making a complaint was told his daughter was ‘hanging out with a bad crowd’.
As a result of this catastrophic dereliction of duty, information was not systematically passed to the police, and the terrified victims were left at the mercy of a gang of violent sexual predators.
Just as social workers failed to protect the victims from the rapists preying on them, so the police failed for years to grasp the nettle and launch a serious investigation. As well as reports from social workers, Greater Manchester Police received 44 referrals from the NHS about the abuse.
In 2009 one victim, known as ‘Suzie’, made a detailed complaint about the attacks. Arrests were made but the case was dropped by state prosecutors. It was not until a year later that a full investigation was launched. Police also failed to demand proper bail restrictions on the attackers.
Even after the trial, the police refused to acknowledge the racial element of the crimes, saying it was wrong to get ‘hung up on race and ethnicity issues’.
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE
An early police investigation in 2009 was passed to prosecutors but astonishingly no action was taken. Instead a senior CPS prosecutor ‘refused charge’, claiming it was unlikely to lead to a successful trial.
That was despite the existence of forensic evidence including DNA swabs from a victim’s underwear.
It was two years before that decision was overturned. Yesterday’s report found prosecutors thought the main victim would be seen by the court as an unreliable witness, and blamed the cost of bringing the case and ‘officer workload’ for the decision.
THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY
Members of the community would have known about the abuse of white girls being carried out by Pakistani men but did nothing to stop it. Jack Straw, the former Justice Secretary, said there was ‘denial’ around the issue.
He said: ‘These are small communities so people would have a rough idea that there is a group of men who are abusing white girls in this way. That has to be dealt with there, as well as much more effective police and social services action.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2209724/Wholl-blame-Not-single-social-worker-sacked-teenage-grooming-scandal.html#ixzz27kSr0ADP
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