07:40 GMT22 October 2020
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    The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales was set up in 2014 to investigate claims against people in the public eye. Its public hearings consist of 14 separate investigations, including one into organised crime gangs.

    A victim of child sexual exploitation has given a statement to an independent inquiry the police found it easier to blame the victims rather than go after the perpetrators.

    The statement by the victim, referred to only as CSA317, was read out at a hearing of the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse on Monday, 21 September.

    ​CSA317 grew up in children’s homes and was sexually abused by an older man from the age of 14. She said she felt the staff at the home “colluded” with the man, who regularly plied her with drugs and alcohol.

    At the age of 18 she was “violently raped” by the man but the police rejected her allegations and she had a breakdown and attempted suicide.

    She said: "It was easier for the police to criminalise the children than go after the perpetrators."

    Eventually the National Crime Agency launched an investigation and her attacker was jailed for nine years.

    ​The inquiry is investigating organised child abuse, by mostly Asian gangs, and junior counsel Henrietta Hill QC, said it was clear a great deal of lessons had been learned and 451 recommendations had already been made by serious case reviews and the inquiry into a network in Rotherham.

    The inquiry is being chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, who also led an independent inquiry into sexual exploitation in Rotherham by men from the town’s Pakistani community.

    Sammy Woodhouse and her son
    © Photo : Sammy Woodhouse
    Sammy Woodhouse - one of the Rotherham victims - and her son

    Ms Hill said there is evidence that patterns of abuse were not highlighted by the police, social workers and council officials “for fear of being accused of being racist” and she said Prof. Jay’s own inquiry found that in Rotherham there had been an “over-reliance on community leaders” and an inability to listen to women in BAME communities.

    A statement from a girl, referred to as Daisy, was also read to the inquiry. She was one of more than 100 girls who were abused by a gang of Asian men in Rochdale, near Manchester.

    Daisy said she was abused from the age of 14 and was passed around for sex by between 100 and 150 men. At one point she became pregnant and had an abortion.

    She said she became a delinquent and was jailed for four months at the age of 15. At her court hearing her solicitor tried to raise her abuse but it was ignored.

    In 2008 Greater Manchester Police finally launched Operation Span, which ended up with a trial which led to the conviction of nine men, all of whom were of Pakistani or Afghan origin.

    The girls were abused at two takeaway restaurants by men aged between 24 and 59. 

    Sentencing the ringleader, Adil Khan, to eight years in prison in 2012, Judge Gerald Clifton said he and his accomplices treated the girls "as though they were worthless and beyond respect."

    Daisy said when the trial was over she was “threatened” and “harassed” by relatives and friends of those who had been jailed.

    Khan was later stripped of his British citizenship - gained during a marriage to a British woman - but is still fighting deportation to Pakistan and in May this year was seen in a Rochdale supermarket by one of his victims, who was left traumatised.

    The latest phase of the inquiry is looking into child sexual exploitation by organised gangs in Tower Hamlets (in London), Swansea, Bristol, Durham, St Helens and Warwickshire.

    Ms Hill said: "We are trying to find out if the historic failings have been learnt from. Is child sexual exploitation being prevented or at least reduced? Are children better protected and are perpetrators being disrupted and brought to justice?"

    The inquiry heard that in 2020 there were 90 investigations under way into suspected organised child sexual exploitation networks.

    Ms Hill said there was evidence that “unhelpful stereotypes” of white girls being abused by Asian men had meant assumptions were being made that Asian girls and boys were not vulnerable to abuse and there had been a “lack of research” into the abuse of boys and men in BAME communities.

    The latest phase of the inquiry is due to last until next month.   

    Tags:
    Pakistan, Asians, Rotherham, Interpol's International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE)
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