Greg Mulholland MP

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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.

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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.”

Sky News click here for video’s