Child Abuse Inquiry Refuses to Investigate Grooming Gangs
Britain’s national inquiry into child sex abuse has been blasted for ‘cowardice’ over race as it refused to look at grooming gang scandals carried out by mostly Pakistani gangs, or to hear from key witnesses.
Victims of the grooming gangs and their advocates blasted the public probe, which was launched in 2015 and has so far cost taxpayers £143 million, after it emerged would not be examining any of the notorious cases in which ‘Asian’ gangs have preyed on thousands of mostly white, working class girls.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales has so far looked at organisations like the Church of England and the Armed Forces to investigate “what went wrong and why” with regards to “institutional failure to protect children from abuse”.
It was believed that the ‘organised networks’ section of the inquiry would look at the mostly Pakistani grooming gangs which have struck in towns across Britain including Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford, while police, social services and local councils turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse.
In two weeks of hearings for this investigation which took place from late September, the IICSA chose not to hear from grooming gang crime experts, victims of the phenomenon, or their advocates like whistleblower and former Greater Manchester Police (GMP) detective Maggie Oliver.
Instead, the probe looked at six areas of England and Wales — Bristol, Durham, St Helens, Swansea, Tower Hamlets and Warwickshire “because they represent a range of sizes, demographics and institutional practices”, according to the Times.
None of these regions has seen a major prosecution involving South Asian grooming gangs, noted the newspaper, reporting that the proportion of the population from Pakistani backgrounds in these areas is lower than the average in England and Wales.
Oliver, who quit GMP in 2012 in order to expose the grooming scandal in Rochdale and has since launched the Maggie Oliver Foundation providing support, therapy and legal advice to survivors of child sexual abuse, disclosed that she was denied the chance to speak at the inquiry.
Speaking on the ITV talk show Loose Women, the former detective said she “repeatedly” requested the opportunity to give evidence at the investigation and was eventually invited to give a witness statement, but two thirds of this was erased by the IICSA.
“Every non-institutional core participant was denied permission to speak in public in the inquiry,” she said, reporting that “forty pages of my statement were deleted, all the statements were hidden behind numbers and symbols on the website.”
“You would imagine with a problem identified in the northern towns and cities like Rotherham and Rochdale and Middlesbrough and Halifax, you would have one of those towns included in a public inquiry looking at grooming gangs,” she said, adding that: “Not one was included. So we had an area like Swansea, St Helens, Warwickshire.”
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