27 Sep 2012

Responding to today’s publication of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board’s review into the sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society, said:

'This damning report about failings in Rochdale comes just days after media reports about the sexual abuse of numerous young girls in South Yorkshire. There too, an all too familiar story was highlighted of police and social services failing to detect serious cases of sexual abuse, and failing to act when evidence was presented to them.

'Inadequate protection'

'For many years we have been warning about the harm done to children being sexually exploited and offered inadequate protection. We have campaigned for the police and social services to stop laying the blame at the feet of victims.

'There are, of course, some really good examples of police forces and local councils tackling this problem, and we know the government takes this issue extremely seriously. Yet worryingly the thousands of young people we work with are still telling us about the appalling attitudes they encounter from some professionals.

'There must be a sea change in attitudes to young people in certain sections of the police and social services. They need to stop viewing vulnerable teenage girls as "promiscuous" or children that go missing from home or care as "street wise". There should be absolutely no question that a person under the age of sexual consent who suffers grooming or sexual abuse is a victim, whatever the circumstances.'

Ends

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Notes to editors

The Children's Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.