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Child sexual exploitation “social norm” in parts of England

Published November 3, 2014 by misty534

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British Home Secretary Theresa May speaks during the College of Policing Conference in Coventry, central England

Sexual exploitation of children has become a “social norm” in some English neighbourhoods, fuelled by explicit music videos and near-pornographic images that are increasingly viewed as normal, a report said on Thursday.

The report by a member of parliament was commissioned after a 2012 sex grooming scandal in the northern town of Rochdale in which nine men were jailed for plying girls with alcohol, drugs and gifts before forcing them to have sex with numerous men.

The case “exposed the systematic rape of children and levels of depravity that shocked the nation,” according to Ann Coffey, the report’s author, and was followed by similar sex trafficking scandals in Derby, Telford and Oxford.

The cases coincided with a spate of media reports on historic child abuse by ageing celebrities and Catholic priests, prompting questions in the country of 53 million about why the abuse was not prevented and victims not identified sooner.

“Young people are still too often being blamed for being a victim,” Coffey said in a statement as the report on the Greater Manchester region in central England was released.

“The age of consent in this country is 16 and adults who prey on children under that age are always wrong. Unless we get a change in public attitudes it will be difficult to protect children.”

She said the attitude of some police, social workers, prosecutors and juries could explain why in the past six years there had been only 1,000 convictions out of 13,000 reported cases of major sexual offences against under-16-year-olds in Greater Manchester, a region covering Rochdale.

CAN’T YOU SEE I’M A LITTLE GIRL?

Coffey’s report detailed the pressure girls feel, from unwanted attention and touching by older men in the street to social media where a proliferation of sexualised images has led to greater expectations of sexual entitlement.

One schoolgirl in Greater Manchester said she was approached by a man who started touching her ear.

“Can you not see I am a little girl? I am in my uniform,” she told him.

Another girl Coffey met described a man taking hold of her friend from behind and stroking her hair.

“It’s got to the point where men come up and touch us and try and get us into cars. It’s too much,” she said.

“I have been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm,” Coffey said in the report.

“They say there is no respect for girls: gangs of youths pressurising vulnerable young girls (including those with learning disabilities) for sex, and adults allowing their houses to be used for drinking, drug taking and having sex.”

Coffey said many children are still being preyed on every day and that there were 260 ongoing investigations into child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester alone.

In 2012, a body set up to promote the rights of children in England said that at least 16,500 children a year were at risk of sexual exploitation by gangs and groups. It identified the use of mobile phones, social networking sites and other forms of technology as tools for abusers to groom victims.

Coffey said child sexual exploitation had a huge impact on the physical and mental health of children and should be declared a public health priority, like alcohol, drug taking and obesity, so that a more strategic approach could be developed.

Coventry pensioner jailed for ten years after sexually abusing seven-year-old girl

Published August 2, 2013 by misty534

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Andrew  Burnett, aged 75, pleaded guilty at Coventry Crown Court to nine sex offence charges against the girl

A Coventry pensioner who sexually abused a seven-year-old girl will have to register as a sex offender for life after being jailed for ten years.

As Andrew Burnett was led from the dock the victim’s father confronted him and said: “Look at me, look at me. I’ll see you when you get out.”

The irate father then turned to the judge and said: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any disrespect, but he did that to my daughter.”

Burnett, aged 75, of St Judes Road, Willenhall, Coventry, pleaded guilty at Coventry Crown Court to nine sex offence charges against the girl.

The court had heard the girl’s parents had trusted Burnett, and he had taken advantage of that to sexually abuse the girl on a number of occasions when he happened to be alone with her.

The girl, who Judge Richard Griffith-Jones pointed out is not related to Burnett, said such incidents happened on a number of occasions.

Sometimes he rewarded her by giving her £1 or £2 which, at her age, she thought was a lot of money.

Eventually the girl found the courage to tell him to stop, and some time later broke down in front of a friend who wisely advised her to tell her mother, said prosecutor Paul Dhami.

She did so, and the police were contacted – and when Burnett was arrested he made frank admissions.

Ian Speed, defending, said: “He merely wishes me to apologise to his victim and her family.”

Judge Griffith-Jones commented: “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and he has never questioned the integrity of the complainant.

“So she has never been suggested to be a liar, which is sadly often the case by people who, in a cowardly way, are trying to extricate themselves from trouble.

“On the other hand, to say he apologises, perhaps he doesn’t even understand the damage he has done. Just to say ‘I apologise,’ the family might almost find it insulting because it just falls so many miles short.”

Jailing Burnett, Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “You have at least had the courage to accept responsibility; and that is not something that all people in your situation do.

“But I am afraid this is a bad case. It is bad because this is not someone who was just under 13; she was an infant who should have been innocent and protected.’’

16 years jail for man who raped schoolgirl a decade ago

Published March 23, 2013 by misty534

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A COVENTRY man has been jailed for 16 years for repeatedly raping a schoolgirl 10 years ago, including one attack in the youngster’s tent whilst on a fishing trip.

Phillip Clarke raped the girl – who was just 10-years-old – three times within the space of a few weeks in 2002, twice at his former home in Lillington Road, Wood End, and once whilst on a camping break.

Clarke – a former cemetery gardener – admitted sexual assault but denied rape.

However, a jury at Coventry Crown Court last month unanimously found him guilty on four counts of rape and at Birmingham Crown Court today (March 22) he was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Clarke will also be on the Sex Offender’s Register for life, never be allowed to work with children, and cannot have unsupervised contact with children for the rest of his life.

The victim, now a 20-year-old university student, was praised for the evidence she gave in court – evidence delivered from behind a screen that protected her from the public gallery gaze but allowed her to address the jury face-to-face.

And after the hearing she encouraged anyone who’s suffered at the hands of a sexual predator to report abuse to police and support services…no matter how long ago the offences occurred.

She said: “The abuse I suffered has been hanging over me for many years, affecting my relationships and making it difficult to move on. I was also worried that all the time I stayed silent there was a danger he could be abusing other children.

“Over time I confided in friends, my boyfriend and then finally my mother and the police…as it happened a decade ago I wasn’t sure if I’d left it too late but this has proved it’s never too late for victims to report rape or sexual assault.

“I’m confident I can now make a fresh start, with this off my mind, and start re-building my life.”

The court heard how Clarke twice raped the 10-year-old at his home address in 2002 and, after both attacks, gave the youngster money to “spend on sweets”.

Sandwiched between the two incidents he abused her on a fishing trip in the Coventry area and, following another rape in 2005, she told the 37-year-old to stop. It was the last time he abused her.

In interview Clarke claimed to have a “Jekyll and Hyde” character and blamed the abuse on a previous mental breakdown.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Clive Leftwich, said: “Clarke told us he’d suspected for many years that he would be arrested for these matters. He was right – but that was down to the courage of his victim who was determined her attacker would face justice and that no other children would potentially suffer.

“Our Public Protection officers are specially trained to deal sensitively with sexual abuse victims, offer them support and guide them through the court process.

“Despite the victim coming to us 10 years after the offences were committed, our thorough investigations enabled us to present a compelling case to the jury…and it’s resulted in a unanimous guilty verdict for rapes that have caused her great distress since childhood.”

 

west Midlands Police