Serious case review decision imminent in Rochdale abuse case

A serious case review could be launched as early as this week into the sexual exploitation of young girls in Rochdale

Members of the child exploitation gang jailed in May (Pic: Rex Features)

Rochdale council is screening cases to decide whether a serious case review should be launched into the sexual abuse of young girls in the borough, Community Care understands.

The cases all involve girls who were sexually exploited by a criminal gang in the area. The gang bought them gifts and plied them with alcohol before forcing them to have sex with multiple men. The high-profile abuse case, in which 47 victims were identified, saw nine men imprisoned in May.

A decision about whether the authority will conduct a review, or several reviews, is expected as early as this week, Community Care understands.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk has been pressing for a “full and frank” review to establish whether correct procedures were followed and lessons can be learnt.

“This was a terrible case that has taken a heavy toll on our community,” Danczuk said.

“But for the sake of the victims we need a thorough investigation to make sure these mistakes do not happen again. I’ve been calling for a serious case review for some time now and I’m pleased that the Safeguarding Children Board have now agreed that this is necessary.”

Multiple reviews

A spokesperson for Rochdale council said the local safeguarding board has conducted a ‘learning event review’ of sexual exploitation in the borough, which is due to be published at the end of this month.

A review of the council’s response to the case is due to be published in October and a review of safeguarding in the borough’s children’s homes is due in November.

In a letter to Danczuk in May, prime minister David Cameron said he welcomed the learning event review and the council’s own review, which he said would look at how effectively information is shared between services.

“The readiness of services to share information with each other was reportedly a factor in this case. It is therefore critically important that the review gets to the bottom of this,” he wrote.

He continued: “If further steps appear to be necessary at a national level in the light of either review, including considering the need for a serious case review, the government will ensure that appropriate action is taken.”

Community Care Inform will soon be publishing a guide for social care professionals working with children at risk of sexual exploitation. Register to receive the guide.

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