Crime Reduction

28.11.18

Rotherham abuse victim reveals council offered convicted sex offender access to her child

Rotherham Council has come under fierce criticism after a convicted sex offender was offered access to the child of one of the victims of the town’s sexual exploitation scandal.

Arshid Hussain was jailed for 35 years in 2016 after he was convicted of 23 child sex offences, but was told by Rotherham Council he could seek visits from the child, the Times reported today.

The newspaper said Hussain, the boy’s father, was listed as a ‘respondent’ in a family court case involving the child which led to the council approaching him promising to keep him informed of all future proceedings.

During the hearing last year, the boy’s mother was told by the council that the convicted sex offender would be allowed to attend court and make legal representations.

Sammy Woodhouse, who has waived her anonymity, was one of the Hussain’s victims and fell pregnant aged 15 after she was raped.

She posted an emotional online video calling for a change to the law, saying: “This story is about myself, about my son, about the man that raped me, and about the fact that Rotherham Council have offered him to apply for parental rights for my child.”

Woodhouse said: “I’ve also been able to prove that he is a direct danger to my son. This is happening all over the country, and it needs to stop.”

The campaigner has, alongside her MP Louise Haigh, called for the 1989 Children’s Act to be changed to “ensure rapists can’t gain access to children conceived through rape and abuse.”

Woodhouse was one of the key witnesses in the South Yorkshire Police’s Operation Clover investigation, which led to a number of Rotherham men being given lengthy jail sentences in 2016, including Hussain and his three brothers.

Haigh said in a tweet that the situation was “so utterly acceptable” and announced that she and Woodhouse were campaigning for men who’ve fathered children through rape to lose their parental rights. She added: “Too often we see the rights of victims being superseded by the rights of their rapists. This has to end.”

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Image credit - Dave Higgens/PA Wire/PA Images

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