Rochdale sex grooming gang victims to sue social services
Review finds that council, police and CPS 'missed opportunities' to stop gang abusing young girls
ROCHDALE social services face legal action from victims after they repeatedly “missed opportunities” to protect young girls from sexual abuse by Asian men over several years. At the same time, the chief executive of Rochdale Council has been summoned before MPs.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, told The Times he expected Jim Taylor to face “a host of new questions” from MPs as he tries to explain how his social workers failed to protect dozens of children.
The moves follow the publication today by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board of its review of the high-profile case in which nine men were jailed in May for grooming girls as young as 13 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
After reviewing the work of local agencies - including the council, police and the Crown Prosecution Service – the board found that victims had reported abuse on several occasions but it had been allowed to continue.
"Deficiencies" and "patchy" training of front-line staff were said to be behind the failings. Early crime investigations and the prosecution of alleged offenders were also said to be "flawed".
The report concluded: "While some organisations were consistently supportive in their response, overall child welfare organisations missed opportunities to provide a comprehensive, co-ordinated and timely response and, in addition, the criminal justice system missed opportunities to bring the perpetrators to justice."
Richard Scorer, a solicitor who represents a number of the victims, has said the report is likely to result in legal action against social services for a "whole catalogue of failings".
He said there was "clear evidence that social services failed to intervene when they had information about grooming and exploitation of young girls".
Rochdale Council said it has used the review's findings to implement a catalogue of changes and improvements. But today a father of one victim told the BBC he wanted "to see people named, shamed and sacked".
The nine men who ran the child sexual exploitation ring in Rochdale were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court in May after being found guilty of offences including rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with girls under the age of 16.
During the trial there were demonstrations by far-right groups after it emerged that white girls were being exploited by the gang, eight of whom were of Pakistani origin, with another from Afghanistan.