Report reveals Rochdale and Rotherham not isolated cases
Statistical evidence obtained from Greater Manchester Police as part of the Real Voices independent child sexual exploitation report revealed that Rochdale and Rotherham were not isolated cases, with many children “still being preyed on each day”.
As part of the Real Voices inquiry, an independent report into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the Greater Manchester area was commissioned by the Police and Crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd, following the Rochdale grooming case in 2012.
The report has revealed that there are currently 260 live investigations into CSE in Greater Manchester. Of these, 174 are recorded crimes and 18 of those cases involve multiple perpetrators.
“My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case. This is a real and ongoing problem,” says Lloyd.
According to the report, there have only been about 1,000 convictions out of 13,000 reported cases involving nine “major sexual offences” against under-16-year-olds in the past six years. The report suggest that police, social workers, prosecutors and juries’ negative attitudes towards CSE are partly to blame for a child’s hesitation in reporting abuse.
Lloyd says pressurised “vulnerable young girls” are not respected by authority and the “increased sexualisation of children” is often seen as a “social norm”.
“Young people are still too often being blamed for being a victim of crime. I was shocked that the Crown Prosecution Service highlighted the fact that a victim wore cropped tops as a reason for throwing out a case,” said Lloyd.
There are 14,712 episodes of children going missing from home and care in Greater Manchester between January to September 2014. Evidence gathered by the report shows that some children’s homes were “flaunting government rules” by not informing the police and local authorities when a child, who is vulnerable to CSE, moves into their home from miles away.
The report has recommended that all police response officers should receive CSE training as well as being more “actively involved” in the community by giving formal talks in schools about issues surrounding CSE.
A unique collaboration of public sector and third sector partners operating under the banner Project Phoenix has attempted to set up and develop a cross-boundary multiagency response to CSE in Greater Manchester, to ensure that victims are not “subject to a postcode lottery” in receiving help.
For further reading, information and recommendations given by the report, you can read the material here: Real Voices