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Abuse of hundreds of girls as young as ten covered up by police and social services

(259 Posts)
edam Mon 24-Sep-12 14:29:51

today's Times - sadly behind a paywall but you can see the first par here - has a major investigation into appalling, widespread organised rape and abuse of girls in South Yorkshire.

Not only did police and social services fail to help the girls, let alone prosecute the offenders, they actually charged victims and their parents - one girl was charged with using drugs, while the men in the room with her went free, while one father who tried to get his daughter back was charged with racial harassment, ffs. AND his poor daughter, who had been drugged, was charged with assault. Another parent was charged with breach of the peace, another girl - only 13 - was arrested for a public order offence and convicted, while the men went free.

It beggars belief. The Times has seen more than 200 confidential documents from Rotherham detailing the crimes which were often not investigated - even though police and social services knew full well who the perpetrators were. But they were more concerned with hushing up the heritage of the offenders - Pakistani, Kurdish, Iranian and Kosovan gangs and families - than investigating hideous crimes.

In one case, police in Bristol rescued two girls who had been kidnapped but South Yorkshire police (where they lived) didn't even question them.

Neither the police nor the council apologised, btw. Oh no, the council just says ofsted think they are great and 'some work with individuals did not lead to court cases for a variety of reasons'. S Yorks Police say now they have eight officers looking into child sexual exploitation and they are 'a leading force in safeguarding vulnerable children'.

beancurd Mon 24-Sep-12 21:39:10

But long before the asian gangs there were other men exploiting the same girls. I have known the entire female contingent of a care home being coerced into 'working' for the local pimp and his friends. In fact the same men have exploited cohort after cohort from the same homes and widened their care home circle to include the residences these girls got moved to. The girls vulnerable to this on the predominantly white estates are coerced by groups of white men, increasingly girls at school are coerced by groups of older teenage boys. Group abuse has increased generally, social media porn? Who knows.

Historically it wasn't an Asian gang issue, the abusers just reflect the changing profile of the localities. Ss and the police were ignoring their duties under law because the prevailing attitudes towards teenage girls are so conflicted and ignorant.

I think the real story is the level of abuse, the collusion from police and ss, the historic and systematic nature of the victimisation of these girls and the attitudes that allowed their abuse to continue. From my perspective they didn't investigate the Asian gangs because they had never investigated any of the men raping the vulnerable girls targeted. I don't want this to become a story of how Asian gangs with their culturally conditioned lack of respect for young white girls created a programme of abuse. This only happened because our society had no respect or care for these girls, we have a poor record of dealing with abusers full stop. Their have been many Asian victims too, these men are abusers and the myth that they don't target their own community needs to be busted as well.

beancurd Mon 24-Sep-12 21:40:51

Excuse typos...bloody iPad.

Aboutlastnight Mon 24-Sep-12 21:47:21

Yes it's seems it's fine for girls to be raised and assaulted as long as we cannot be accused to racism. Misogyny is obviously more acceptable than racism.

Aboutlastnight Mon 24-Sep-12 21:49:48

Raised =raped.

Tryingtothinkofnewsnazzyname Mon 24-Sep-12 21:49:55

A bad week for South Yorkshire Police now becomes a bad few weeks. Seriously very worrying that so much disturbing criminal activity was not considered worthy of proper investigation. Apologies to anyone here who works genuinely hard for SYP but their failings are looking pretty bad now, and I don't see how they can be considered a 'leading force' in anything, least of all this.

Aboutlastnight Mon 24-Sep-12 21:53:27

"This only happened because our society had no respect or care for these girls, we have a poor record of dealing with abusers full stop"

No this happened because these men decided that it was ok to treat these girls that way and blame them for the sbuse meted out yo them. And it seems from their reactions and actions that the police and SS on some level, agreed.

kissyfur Mon 24-Sep-12 22:05:30

What an absolute disgrace! This is just so shocking, those poor poor girls

edam Mon 24-Sep-12 22:06:34

beancurd, that's a frightening post. What on earth is being done to investigate these paedophile groups targeting children's homes? Is it still going on with police and social services refusing to act?

KRITIQ Mon 24-Sep-12 23:40:55

Beancurd's right on this. I work with kids in an area of the UK that is predominately white British and the problem of child sexual exploitation is rife and extremely worrying. It's worth reading this report (at least the summary at the start) from University of Bedfordshire explaining some of the reasons responses to the problem from all agencies have been pretty feeble so far. (It pertains to England, but the same team are currently undertaking a similar study on behalf of the Scottish Government. I doubt the findings will be all that different.

I think this issue presents a MASSIVE challenge for all agencies involved in safeguarding children. Child protection policies and procedures are geared up to protecting children who have been harmed or are at risk of harm from their parents or someone in a parent/carer role. They simply aren't set up to deal with this problem.

The young people involved don't always see what they are doing as harmful. They may see it as doing something "grown up" and like the kudos it gives them amongst their peers as well as the financial rewards. Older siblings or even parents may encourage or at least not discourage them. One 13 year old we worked with was very pissed off when the police got involved because it meant she got in trouble with her parents and cut off her supply line of phone credit, alcohol and cigarettes.

It's often an older boyfriend who "grooms" them into sexual exploitation, not the stereotype old man in a dirty mac with sweeties. Agencies they come in contact may not notice anything particularly untoward about what's happening when it appears to be in the context of a "relationship."

Attitudes of practitioners can also get in the way. I've heard senior social workers, teachers, youth workers, health workers and police officers fail to see a child at risk even when they know they are involved in potentially harmful activities. They often see the girls as "streetwise" or "bad eggs" rather than victims of child abuse.

There needs to be a MASSIVE shift in understanding of the dynamics and process of child sexual exploitation amongst all professionals, and amongst parents as well as a far bigger emphasis on it within schools if this is to be seriously addressed.

I think we also need to take a sober look at particularly how sexualised messages in popular culture effectively help to "groom" girls in such a way that they are perhaps more susceptible now to sexual exploitation than ever before.

beancurd Mon 24-Sep-12 23:48:24

Am not linked to these girls anymore. I can't imagine it has changed greatlysad

Doesn't change for the girls I knew now they are women eithersad

beancurd Mon 24-Sep-12 23:53:44

Was going to copy a few of your paragraphs to emphaise how much i agree kritiq but it is all so pertinent.

I think your last sentence is worryingly true.

Growlithe Tue 25-Sep-12 00:01:35

I'm getting sick of reading of the failings of the South Yorkshire Police. Cover up after cover up. It really needs looking at.

Treats Tue 25-Sep-12 12:06:21

Interesting parallel with the other case in the news today of the schoolgirl who's been abducted by her teacher. According to today's Times the school knew for months that there was some kind of relationship - they were spotted holding hands on the way back from a school trip at Easter time - and, following investigation, were on the verge of suspending him.

I find it extraordinary that it should take MONTHS to investigate something like this. Surely, at the first report that anything untoward might be up, he gets a VERY stern warning that this is absolutely not on and is then monitored very closely. I don't understand how a teacher's right to be protected from untrue allegations trumps a young girl's right to be protected from sexual abuse by someone in a position of trust.

Unless you take the view that she might somehow be responsible, or that these relationships might be OK.......

OneHandFlapping Tue 25-Sep-12 12:15:05

"perceptions of white women as promiscuous/inferior, etc. are an issue specific to certain backgrounds, i.e. Pakistani." And the police!

It seems like the police also thought these girls were disposable. They obviously thought them of lesser worth than their own daughters. It is appalling when those who are sworn to uphold the law fail to do so, and those responsible need to be brought to justice. They are as guilty as the rapists.

edam Tue 25-Sep-12 17:23:55

Thanks Kritiq, that's really helpful in terms of understanding how all the agencies that should be protecting children have failed to act. (Shamefully - understanding what is going on doesn't excuse it.)

Treats, yes, Megan Stammer's school seems to have handled several different cases extremely badly - not least, allowing a man charged with multiple sex offences to remain on the board of governors.

Childrenofthestones Tue 25-Sep-12 19:20:26

Any body ever watch Red Riding on Ch4
I think they had the yorkshire police down to a T.

edam Tue 25-Sep-12 19:31:29

To be fair, Red Riding was set during the 70s, wasn't it? (Only caught a little bit in passing.) And West Yorkshire, not South. (Yorkshire's a big place.)

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 20:32:43

Teachers DO have rights to be protected from liars. Liars ruining careers is a big problem. Charged yes, convicted???

Working in a university/adult education setting is far preferable to working with under-18s from my perspective. No chance of being banned from your whole profession over one misinterpreted incident. No government blacklist, employers can choose to trust you even if you've made mistakes earlier in your life. No enhanced CRB routine in many cases. Depending on your employer, you can avoid being suspended on full pay for months "pending an investigation" without details being released to the public, which is like having PAEDO SCUM tattooed on your face.

I've heard of cases where teachers have been put through the suspension wringer and the only release of information was about "INAPPROPRIATE" behaviour, when they have embezzled funds/ harassed an adult colleague/done something else they shouldn't, then ordered not to talk about the case. Some parents and others then assume "inappropriate"= child sex offence and then the LEA respond to them with "cannot comment on individual cases", which only makes them more convinced.

One decided to speak out publicly about the fact that the offence was one of a purely financial nature, knowing the consequences of breaking the confidentiality rules, and is now in a different profession. Other innocent teachers and people working with children have moved home with their families to escape threats to their life for similar reasons.

I don't disagree with protecting vulnerable teenage girls from exploitative adults. But the system can easily turn into a witch-hunt.

RIP the 30 people who killed themselves in the Operation Ore "paedo-geddon" scandal when they had never viewed child porn in their lives but were arrested at 5am, told to quit their profession forever and walked out on by their wives and families. RIP anyone murdered by a mob after they were named by some liar as a sex offender when they'd done no such thing.

Zealotry has fatal consequences. Remember that.

Treats Tue 25-Sep-12 22:29:18

Extrospektiv - you're obviously talking from personal experience and some of the things you describe sound appalling. I think it's in everyone's interest when allegations of impropriety are made, to investigate promptly and thoroughly and to communicate the findings to all interested parties. That hasn't happened at this school and it didn't happen to the people you know.

I'm trying to fathom why - in this particular case - the school didn't take more decisive action when they were first alerted to the inappropriate behaviour that this teacher was displaying towards this girl. Either they didn't think it was an issue or they were more concerned with protecting the teacher than the girl. Either way, they were wrong, and either way their thinking appears to mirror the way the South Yorkshire Police regarded the victims that have been revealed by the Times investigation.

It's tough to be the person who has to exercise a judgement in these cases as to whether the accused has a case to answer or whether they're the victim of malicious gossip. But, it appears to me, that young girls are being put at risk by prejudiced assumptions about their behaviour and widespread acceptance of abusive relationships - and that these are colouring the judgement of those who should be protecting them.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Tue 25-Sep-12 22:50:48

A couple of stories from today's Mail:

"Anthony Lambert, 51, Stefan Godfrey, 44, John Shaw, 55, Ijaz Ahmed, 35, and Mark Adaoui, 40, Colin Simpson, 55, David Shardlow, 56, and Ian Yeoman, 60, were jailed for a series of sex offences.

The problem of teen prostitution in the city suburbs of Normanton and Pear Tree was so rife, one girl distressingly said that she thought taking money for sex simply ‘must be part of growing up’.

Disturbing CCTV footage played during the five-week trial showed one of the men, Shaw, checking into a Jurys Inn hotel with one girl and her friend, who could be seen clutching a large teddy bear."

The men it seems were not connected - I am not sure if these girls just hung around on the street or what.

"A 13-year-old girl who told police how she had been groomed and raped by an Asian sex gang wrote a harrowing letter to herself at the age of 14.
In the letter addressed to her alter-ego Michelle, she wrote, 'I feel like the asians really hate me even when they say they love me'.
The girl, who told police about the rape that took her virginity and the time five men queued outside a bedroom to demand sex from her, added, 'They took all my dreams and my life away from me.'
Police have never charged anyone in connection with any sexual offence against Amy.
Before the girl spoke to officers in 2003, South Yorkshire police already knew of a crime pattern involving the sexual exploitation of young teenagers in Rotherham by a group of offenders, largely of Pakistani heritage.
According to previously confidential documents seen by The Times, police in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, found evidence of thousands of similar crimes and described ‘networks of Asian males exploiting young white females’.
The groups were reported to have trafficked victims to cities including Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.
Despite this, just two prosecutions of groups of men for sexual abuse have taken place in South Yorkshire since 1996. "

edam Tue 25-Sep-12 23:02:03

so much for S Yorks police and Rotherham council telling The Times that they are experts in dealing with child exploitation then...

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 26-Sep-12 00:12:07

Interesting historical perspective:

sashh Wed 26-Sep-12 03:10:54

I've been reading this, and thinking that I'm not suprised at the police attitude. Then I realised how horrific it is that I can think that.

That's why I frequent the femminist boards. If it was boys being abused would the reaction be the same?

bigkidsdidit Wed 26-Sep-12 07:46:45

This thread is so distressing. I had no idea about this. How coul I have had no idea??

I hope there will be a big public enquiry into this.

Childrenofthestones Wed 26-Sep-12 22:50:08

Don't hold your breath. The Times and DM were the only press to carry it and the BBC never touched it nationally. Any doubts that there isn't a cover up going on are fast going down the drain.
If you only read the article in the DM it was only a fraction of the cases listed in the Times. I read the Times articles and they were horrendous. Dozens of men if not over a hundred are involved yet the police have only gone after a handful.
If you have not read all the details in the six pages over two days in the Times you have no idea just how bad this is. There should be a public enquiry and the police found in dereliction of duty should do time.

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