By Henri MacDonald-As the trial of the Oxford men alleged to have groomed and abused white girls over several years continues, more horrific evidence is presented, showing major failures in both the care system and the police in this country.
The father of one of the victims who cannot be named, and is referred to as “Girl 1” explained that his daughter was supposedly under police protection when she was a victim of grooming and increasingly violent abuse.
She was given money and a phone and began to disappear regularly. When she returned she was dirty, uncared for and showed signs of sexual abuse.
The victim told her father that the authorities were aware of what was happening to her, and that she was under police protection.
The distraught father tried to get the police to intervene, and asked for her clothes to be taken away for DNA testing but the police refused.
The child would be missing for days and her desperate father would take her photograph round local pubs and clubs asking if anyone had seen her.
The father is quoted as saying “"All we knew was we were terrified because our child was missing, effectively disappearing off the face of the earth for days at a time."
However, the police said that his attempts to find his daughter should be stopped as being "detrimental to her wellbeing". The father did not think much of the police attempts to protect his daughter, saying, “Under normal police protection she continued to be abused and assaulted, which is something that defies belief”.
Eventually the victim was moved to a care home for her “protection” but the problems only increased, with the staff showing little or no concern for the children in their care. “Girl 1” continued to be pursued by the defendants and used and abused by them, while supposedly in “the care of social services” and “under police protection”.
Evidence by other victim “Girl 3” speaks of the appalling conditions in the care home, where staff were aware of the dangers being faced by these young girls, and yet were unable - or unwilling – to intervene effectively.
A social worker who worked at the home at the time spoke of girls openly using drugs, drinking and disappearing from the home for periods of time.
They would then return depressive and self-harming. It must have been obvious to the staff who were “caring” for these girls that they were being subject to systematic and constant abuse.
Why was nothing done by social services to intervene to protect these vulnerable girls?
Any ordinary person would imagine that our children would be safe while in care and under police protection - but apparently that was not the case here, in this tragic situation.
Not only was the victim abused by some of the lowest creatures in our society, she was let down by the very system which is supposed to provide a safety net and protection for the young and vulnerable.
Is it any wonder that so few crimes of this nature go unreported, when the police and social services are seen to have done so little to help?