Barnardo’s

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MP Accuses Barnardo’s Of Abuse ‘Whitewash’

Published March 2, 2015 by JS2

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An MP has accused children’s charity Barnardo’s of a whitewash over the historical sexual abuse of one of his constituents and is demanding an independent investigation.

Greg Mulholland MP claims the charity has failed to properly investigate its treatment of a 16-year-old girl who was groomed and sexually abused while living in a Barnardo’s flat in Leeds in 1993.

The MP says he is ready to “name and shame” the care workers who he claims left the girl at the mercy of a gang of British Pakistani men and blamed her for the abuse.

The charity insists it conducted a rigorous investigation into the case and says it has addressed the concerns raised by Mr Mulholland.

The victim, now 37, revealed her abuse on Sky News last October after obtaining a letter written in 1993 by the Barnardo’s staff member in charge of the accommodation.

The letter, sent to the girl’s social worker, acknowledges she was sexually assaulted in the property but says the situation “could have been avoided if (she) had not been party to the antics of a group of young men”.

The girl remained in the flat for six months and says she continued to be attacked and then raped in what is the only known case of an Asian gang grooming a child in Leeds.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan wrote to Mr Mulholland to say the charity had investigated the case following the Sky News report.

“The investigation conclusions do not support (your) analysis of the performance and conduct of the Barnardo’s project worker,” he wrote.

In reply the MP accused Barnardo’s of failing to ensure the girl’s safety, telling Mr Khan: “Your investigation and reply are nothing more than a whitewash, which is wholly unacceptable.”

Mr Mulholland told Sky News he would not let the matter rest.

“Unless I have a full and proper response I will be taking this matter further, including publicly naming and shaming those involved,” he said.

Sky News understands the author of the 1993 letter currently works with vulnerable children for another agency in Yorkshire while the victim’s social worker is now a manager in adult social care.

In September 2014, Mr Khan condemned institutions that had blamed children for their own abuse and called for them to be investigated by the Government’s independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation.

In a statement last week the charity said its investigation into the case had been independently scrutinised and reviewed.

“The investigation found that Barnardo’s sought to work with the local authority to keep the girl safe from abuse in line with the legislation, policy and practice current at the time,” it said.

Mix96

Number of child sexual exploitation cases has doubled in Bristol since 2010, says charity

Published February 17, 2015 by JS2

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Children’s charity Barnardo’s has launched an urgent fundraising appeal in response to a massive surge in child sexual exploitation cases.

Last year it worked with a record 2,118 sexually-exploited children, almost double the number it supported in 2010.

In Bristol, the charity supported 40 children and young people in September 2010 but by September 2014 this had risen to 94.

The youngest child supported by the service was just nine years old and the longest period of intervention was more than six years.

Barnardo’s is facing such unprecedented demand for its services that it has now launched an urgent appeal for donations in order to maintain support across the UK.

Barnardo’s regional director Hugh Sherriffe said: “We have been working to tackle the devastating impact of child sexual exploitation for two decades.

“The scale of this abuse is shocking, with more and more incidences coming to light – including the recent high-profile court cases here in Bristol.

“Our experts see how this abuse inflicts lasting damage to vulnerable children, and they work tirelessly to help these children pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

“Every day, more cases are referred to us across the UK.

“Girls and boys from all walks of life can become victims of this awful crime and the numbers are growing.

“Without further funds we simply won’t be able to reach all of those who need our help.

“We urgently need people to make a donation so that we can give all children who come to our door the support they need.”
The Bristol Post

Specialist team to protect Bradford children from sexual abuse is dealing with up to 100 suspected cases at any one time

Published November 18, 2014 by JS2

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A TEAM set up to protect Bradford children from sexual abuse is dealing with up to 100 suspected cases at any one time, councillors will be told.

A report drawn up in the wake of the exploitation scandal in Rotherham lays bare the scale of the task facing the city council’s inter-agency ‘hub’.

The hub, which boasts 23 professionals from the police, social care and mental health services, and children’s charity Barnardo’s, meets at 9am every day to discuss cases.

And it has been handed £250,000 of funding, at a time when Bradford Council is being forced to slash tens of millions of pounds from its day-to-day spending.

Now a report, set to be debated by councillors tomorrow, will seek to “provide assurance” that Bradford is doing everything it can to protect the city’s children.

It notes that a recent Ofsted inspection praised the close working of police, social care and Barnardo’s within the hub as “a particular strength”.

But it adds: “Operational data shows that the number of high and medium risk cases managed through the hub is between 60 and 100 at any one time.

“As of June 2014, the ethnic profile of perpetrators shows a significant majority of perpetrators are of British-Pakistani heritage.”

The Council will meet as a committee of MPs warns the horrors of Rotherham – where 1,400 children were abused, over 16 years – “could be repeated across the country”.

Today’s report, by the Commons communities and local government committee, urges other local councils to “review their own arrangements”.

Clive Betts, the committee’s chairman, said: “We heard alarming evidence that the organised child sexual exploitation at Rotherham is prevalent across England.”

Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford’s executive member for children’s services, said there would be “grim” headlines in the months to come, as historic cases came to court.

But he said: “We’ve found £250,000 of additional money and I believe we now have the proper procedures, and the appropriate skills, to support victims of sexual exploitation.”

Among the steps taken by Bradford are:

  • Ensuring all looked-after children cases are reviewed regularly by independent officers – including those placed outside Bradford.
  • Allowing those children to speak with an advocate to “ensure their views are heard, understood and considered by those responsible for their care”
  • Ensuring every Year 10 student watches a “drama” about sexual exploitation.
  • Training ‘peer mentors’ to work with young people in Keighley, through the Hand in Hand project.
  • Commissioning Barnardo’s to expand its work to support more boys and young men.

Child sexual exploitation is widespread in Scotland, charity warns

Published November 11, 2014 by JS2

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BARNARDO’s warned an inquiry into child sex abuse in Scotland could take years if it examines the “absolutely enormous” range of offences.

A CHILDREN’S charity has warned that child sexual exploitation is widespread in Scotland ahead of the expected announcement of a Scottish Government national action plan.

Barnardo’s said Scotland should be very concerned about child sex abuse warning that determined perpetrators will abuse a large number of children and must be stopped.

Education Secretary Mike Russell will give a statement to parliament on child protection today, which is widely expected to contain a commitment to a national action plan.

Labour said the government must go further and hold a full public inquiry.

But charity Barnardo’s say an inquiry could take years if it examines the “absolutely enormous” range of offences in Scotland.

Director Martin Crewe said: “We are certain that there is widespread child abuse but what we don’t know is the exact nature and prevalence of it.

“I don’t think that the exact nature of Rotherham is happening in Scotland now.

“What we are seeing with child sexual exploitation is a wide range of problems, from an unfortunate relationship between, say, a 19-year-old male and a 14-year-old girl right through to organised abuse.”

He continued: “We know that a determined perpetrator will abuse a large number of children.

“We have to get in there and not just pick up the pieces. We’re working with the police, for instance, to identify perpetrators early and to really bring them to account.”

He said any public inquiry should balance the need to investigate historic abuse in institutions with calls for a wider examination of abuse in foster care or in the home.

“We need to be clear what the parameters are because this could be absolutely enormous and take years to come to fruition,” he said.

But Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said the government should not be constrained by the scale of the problem.

He said: “No matter what a challenge it provides to us if we can’t look after the most vulnerable and the innocent amongst us then it’s time to put the light out.

“If we have a public inquiry we begin to hear the voices, there will be ways that we can ensure that the right people are in charge of these residential establishments.

“There will be a way to ensure that the children who are cared for within these establishments – when they raise issues something is done about it.”

Daily Record

Barnardo’s Accused Of Blaming Victim For Abuse

Published October 16, 2014 by JS2

A letter sent by the children’s charity says the sexual exploitation the youngster suffered at 16 “could have been avoided”.Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 20.13.46

The children’s charity Barnardo’s has been accused of blaming a victim of child sexual exploitation for her own sexual abuse by a gang of men who had groomed her.

A letter written by a Barnado’s project worker in 1993 says that abuse of a 16-year-old girl in accommodation owned by the charity could have been avoided if she had not placed herself in danger.

The letter states that the girl was sexually assaulted but: “The situation could have been avoided if [she] had not been party to the antics of a group of young men.”

It goes on: “Having consumed a quantity of alcohol and three valium tablets [she] was not able to maintain control or respond to the situation in a constructive and cohesive way.”

Last month chief executive of Barnardo’s Javed Khan condemned institutions that had blamed children for their own abuse and called for them to be investigated by the Government’s independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation.

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The victim, now 37, says the sexual assault that triggered the letter happened in her Leeds flat after British Pakistani men befriended her and let her run up debts before giving her drink and drugs.

“I woke up and I didn’t have any clothes on and there were half naked men around,” she said.

“I knew I’d been assaulted. I didn’t know to what extent, I didn’t know if I’d been raped or what, really.”

She says she spent years feeling ashamed after being told at the time that the attack, which occurred shortly after she had left a children’s home, was her fault.

“Looking back, how I feel now is absolute disgust with predominantly Barnardo’s for knowing this happened, for blaming me for it happening and doing nothing about it,” she said.

She remained in the flat for a further six months and says her abuse by the men escalated over that time and included rape.

Greg Mulholland, the woman’s MP, is demanding an investigation by Barnardo’s and Leeds City Council for what he calls “shocking and utterly disgraceful” behaviour.

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“To actually blame her for the most appalling abuse and grooming and indeed blackmail that she suffered is really appalling,” he said.

“This woman who was then a 16-year-old girl, shortly out of care, very vulnerable, was seriously, seriously let down by the two organisations who were there to protect her.”

In a statement Barnado’s told us it was shocked at the contents of the letter.

The statement said: “This woman has been very brave in bringing this issue to light. It must have been a very difficult and distressing step to have taken after so many years.

“Barnardo’s takes this very seriously and we will fully investigate.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, said: “We are very sorry to hear about what this young woman was subjected to.”

He said the council was very keen to investigate the case, and added: “We are confident that an incident like this would be managed very differently today.”

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