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Missed Chances In Rochdale Sex Abuse Scandal
Social services and police ignored the cries of vulnerable girls who were being sexually abused in Rochdale, a report into the scandal which saw nine men jailed reveals.
The review, by Rochdale's Safeguarding Children Board, details how authorities wrote off the complaints by abused teenagers, believing they were "making their own choices".
Five girls, aged between 13 and 15, were given alcohol, food and money by a gang of Asian men in return for sex and there were times when violence was used.
A chance to stop the nine men, who were jailed in May, was missed in 2008 by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the report said.
The first victim, who was 15 when the abuse began, told the police what had been happening to her in August 2008 but her case was not taken seriously and she continued to suffer abuse for another four months.
Richard Scorer, a solicitor for some of the abused girls, said it was "very likely" they would be taking legal action against the authorities for failing to protect them.
The report said: "Overall, child welfare organisations missed opportunities to provide a comprehensive, co-ordinated and timely response and, in addition, the criminal justice system missed opportunities to bring the perpetrators to justice."
Social workers, police and the CPS came under fire for "deficiencies" in the case and the failure was blamed on the "patchy" training of frontline staff.
Rochdale Council said it has used the review's findings to implement a series of changes including staff training on sexual exploitation awareness, better co-ordination between different agencies and more manpower for the child sex abuse team.
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said: "Some months ago I spoke in Parliament about the appalling attitudes shown by Rochdale social workers in blaming the young victims of rape for their abuse.
"The independent Safeguarding Board's investigation confirms this culture within Rochdale Council ...
"What this report shows is that young girls' cries for help were systematically ignored and I'm in no doubt that the poor response by council services would have emboldened the criminals to make them think they could carry on abusing with impunity."
He added: "They knew the girls had been to the police and social services and because nothing happened they must have thought 'we can get away with raping girls for as long as we want'. This report only looks at one case and clearly shows a culture of neglect."