Wednesday, 4 March 2015
It's reported that over 370 girls were systematically assaulted, raped and tortured over a fifteen year period, and that those who should have protected the girls and stopped the abuse either turned a blind eye, trivialised what was happening, or blamed the victims for provoking the abuse. And not one person has been subsequently disciplined or sacked.
I don't know where to begin in dissecting this whole appalling saga, which speaks volumes about the incompetence of public servants who are meant to be shielding the vulnerable but end up shielding the predators.
There was clearly a well-established network of men carrying out the abuse, but they were able to continue their atrocities for many years before finally being arrested.
The case review just published says that not only were police and social workers generally in denial, but they blamed the girls for their "precocious and difficult behaviour", accused them of putting themselves at risk, ignored underage sexual activity, and denied the girls had been groomed and violently controlled.
It's hard to know what can be done to prevent such widespread abuse happening all over again in the future. If trained professionals whose specific job it is to protect vulnerable children utterly fail to do so, will further training or new legislation make any difference? If those who are meant to keep children safe simply don't seem to understand the concept of safety, how will they ever change?
I can't see any effective remedy short of sacking all those who allowed this nightmare to go on for so long, and employing people with a genuine concern for children's well-being who will stop sexual and emotional abuse the moment they discover it.
And the whole insidious culture of blaming the victim, which is still so rampant, must be reversed once and for all and attention focused on those who allowed so many victims to pile up year after year.