Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Sex gang victim accuses council

The youngest victim of the Oxford paedophile ring has accused Oxfordshire county council of lying about the support it has offered to her and her family.

The accusation comes as seven men were found guilty at the Old Bailey of a catalogue of offences including conspiracy to rape, child prostitution and trafficking over an eight year period in the university city of Oxford.

Police and social workers have apologised to their victims for failing to rescue the vulnerable schoolgirls who were plucked from the streets and care homes to be drugged, raped and sold into prostitution.

Two sets of brothers, Akhtar Dogar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31, and Mohammed Karrar, 38, and Bassam Karrar, 33, were convicted along with Kamar Jamil, 27, Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, 27.

The woman, known as Girl C to protect her anonymity, said that her adoptive mother begged social services for help in 2004 but agencies just "passed the parcel between them". Two years later the council agreed to put her in a temporary care home, but by then she had fallen under the control of the gang, who plied her with crack cocaine.

In an interview with The Guardian, Girl C said: "The council put out a press release claiming they had offered wraparound care to all the girls and their families, but the first we heard from them in five years was a letter on April 13 from Jim Leivers [director for children, education and families at the council], where he says he's been 'closely involved in providing support' to me. That's a complete lie. My family have had no support or offers of help at all from Oxfordshire. Nothing. Not at any point. Not even a phone call."

A spokesman for the council told The Guardian: "We are sorry the abuse was not stopped sooner. One of the elements of the serious case review will be an investigation of the support offered to the girls by agencies including social services.

"Our offer of a meeting with Girl [C] and her family was very sincere and similar offers to the other girls have been accepted. We want to do everything we can to help all the girls rebuild their lives and our door is open to Girl [C] and her family."

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton said she was sorry the paedophile ring had not been brought to justice sooner. Asked if she had considered offering her resignation she said: "I think the focus for me is on driving improvements into the future."

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the cases were originally looked at individually and added: "I don't think we understood the extent that the abuse was systematic and it was organised. It was only when we sat down, pooled our information with that of the social workers, that we began to piece together the picture which explained what was happening in terms of this criminal network in Oxford."

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