300 victims groomed and assaulted by Oxfordshire gangs, report finds

Published March 2, 2015 by JS2

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Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims

A damning report is expected to disclose that more than 300 young people have been groomed and sexually exploited by gangs in Oxfordshire over the past 15 years.

Systemic failures by police and social services meant victims were subjected to years of sexual torture, rape and trafficking, it is understood.

The victims, mostly girls, come predominantly from Oxford, making it the latest area in Britain to be embroiled in a scandal over the handling of child sex abuse and proving the issue is not confined to inner cities.

One senior investigative source told The Guardian: “If you think you haven’t got a problem in your city or town, you are just not looking for it.”

The report comes after seven men were jailed for a string of horrendous child sex crimes against six victims, aged between 11 and 15, over a seven-year period.

All of the victims had a background in care and their plight was brought to the attention of the authorities on a number of occasions.

The men were jailed in 2013, but a serious case review by the Oxfordshire safeguarding children board will be published on Tuesday.

It is expected to condemn Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire social services for failing to act.

Key findings are will expose how police officers and social workers failed to believe the girls when they detailed the abuse they were suffering, and dismissed their complaints.

The report will also put a figure on the extent of the abuse in Oxfordshire, and is understood to have identified 300 young people who have been subjected to grooming and abuse between 1999 and 2014. All have been spoken to by police or social services.

However, it is feared that the figure may be just the tip of the iceberg.

The latest report follows the Jay report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which found 1,400 young people had been subjected to grooming and abuse in the area over a similar time frame.

Joanna Simons, the chief executive of Oxfordshire county council, announced several weeks ago that she would be stepping down this summer.

The council has said that she will not be replaced and the management structure will be reorganised. However, the decision will now be reviewed after questions were asked about whether correct processes were followed.

The Telegraph

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