Latest Public Sector News

02.03.15

Serious review shows over 350 young people sexually abused in Oxfordshire

More than 350 young people have been groomed and sexually assaulted over 15 years in Oxfordshire, a new report into the failures by police and social services is expected to disclose.

The victims, mostly girls, come predominantly from Oxford, making the city synonymous with the like of Rotherham and Rochdale as the latest area in Britain to be embroiled in a scandal over the handling of child sex abuse and proving the issue is not confined to inner cities.

One senior investigative source told The Guardian: “If you think you haven’t got a problem in your city or town, you are just not looking for it.”

The report is the result of a serious case review by Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board looking into the grooming and abuse of six girls, aged 11-15, by the ‘Bullfinch’ gang of six men in Oxford.

The victims were subject to years of sexual torture, rape and trafficking, it is understood.

The report is expected to criticise Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council over failings to protect the girls and other victims from abusers.

Thames Valley Police will be singled out for failing to believe the young girls, for treating them as if they had chosen to adopt the lifestyle, and for failing to act on repeated calls for help.

All of the victims had a back ground in care. Oxfordshire social services, which had responsibility for the girls’ safety, will be slammed for knowing they were being groomed and for failing to protect them despite compelling evidence they were in danger.

One social worker told a trial that nine out of 10 of those responsible for the girls was aware of what was going on.

The judge in the first Bullfinch trial in 2013, Judge Peter Rook, said "police and social services missed tell-tale signs" about the abuse that was taking place.

Both Thames Valley Police and the council have apologised and admitted failings, and have detailed what they have done to prevent any repetition.

The serious case review will also put a figure on the extent of the scale of the problem. It is expected to say more than 350 young people have been subjected to grooming and abuse between 1999 and 2014 in Oxfordshire alone.

The attempt to quantify the scale of abuse mirrors the work of the Jay report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which said 1,400 young people had been subjected to grooming and abuse between 1999 and 2013.

Joanna Simons, the chief executive of Oxfordshire county council, announced several weeks ago that she would be stepping down this summer.

The council has said that she will not be replaced and the management structure will be reorganised.

The review was ordered following the jailing of the ‘Bullfinch’ gang, Bassam Karrar, Mohammed Karrar, Kamar Jamil, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Zeeshan Ahmed and Assad Hussain for a combined minimum of 95 years in May 2013.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Notfitforpurpose   03/03/2015 at 01:06

They are still not believing children in Oxford or even following basic procedures to find corroborating evidence in investigations. They are truly incompetent and have treated me with such contempt for believing a small child's disclosures naming her daddy in six different sexual acts including inserting objects masturbating a male and rape and intense pain after disclosing rape. She is three! In fact they said I had misunderstood without bothering to interview the me as the main witness. They didn't check computers or question him etc and their explanation for the alleged rape and other disclosures was "pathetic". my solicitor said. They are insane and demonise victims and witnesses and rubbish allegations by children. The CID said to me, "It may come out later." It had already come out and they failed to believe a small child. She is in danger and her mother is in denial. A pathetic and truly horrific failure in their duty of care.

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