Child Sex Abuse Inquiry Refused to Probe Rotherham and Rochdale Grooming Gangs as It’s ‘Scared of Being Called Racist’
Ellie Cambridge, The Sun, October 24, 2020
A CHILD sex abuse inquiry reportedly refused to probe Rotherham and Rochdale grooming gangs as it is “scared of being called racist”.
Victims and experts slammed the “selective” decision making throughout the £143million inquiry as “cowardly”, reports The Times.
Sammy Woodhouse, a victim of a Rotherham gang, blasted the public inquiry has “not placed survivors at the forefront” of the probe.
She said: “If you are going to get to the root of gang-related child sexual exploitation you need to go right to the heart of it.
“They are trying to bury what happened in places like Rotherham and Rochdale because they’re scared of being called racist.”
And Sarah Champion, a campaigner for child victims, questioned the decision to not hear evidence on the northern grooming networks.
She said: “It’s more than a missed opportunity. So many survivors pinned their hopes on this inquiry getting to the truth.”
Since 2011 gangs have been convicted for grooming in areas such as Rochdale, Rotherham, Telford, Oxford, Burnley, Leicester, Newcastle, Peterborough, Dewsbury and Halifax.
Many investigations found grooming gangs targeting and abusing teenage girls, largely by men and often involving people from south Asian backgrounds.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is attempting to find out “what went wrong and why” in previous failures to protect children from sexual exploitation by “organised networks”.
It chose not to hear evidence from survivors or experts in two weeks of public hearings, focusing on six areas in England and Wales as “they represent a range of sizes, demographics and instituional practices”
These spots are St Helens, Tower Hamlets, Swansea, Durham, Bristol and Warwickshire.
None have currently seen a large scale prosecution of a grooming gang similar to those found in Rochdale or Rotherham.
Maggie Oliver, a former Greater Manchester police officer who exposed the alleged cover-up of grooming gang crimes said the probe was “too frightened to open the hornet’s nest”.
And Nazir Afzal, former chief crown prosecutor who worked to bring members of a Rochdale grooming gang to justice, called it a “nonsense”, adding: “With the other strands of this inquiry it’s been about looking back at what went wrong to see what we can learn from those mistakes.
“This section decided it was going to look forward, but you can’t move forward without looking back at the failures.”