Lancashire

Lancashire sex grooming victim's plea to report abusers

A teenage girl who was groomed for sex by older men has urged other victims to contact the police about their abuse.

The 17-year-old, from east Lancashire, said she had not realised she was being exploited and abused.

Her mother said: "I felt that my daughter was being raped on a daily basis and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it."

The girl has spoken out as police revealed there had been an increase in the number of new cases in Lancashire.

The force said the number of cases had risen by 54% in six months, with more than 570 new cases referred to them during that time.

The girl, whose abuse started when she was just 13, said: "At first I was frightened, I didn't think anyone would help but I have got it and my life is a lot better now I am away from all that."

She was given alcohol, cigarettes and credit for her mobile phone.

'Had friends'

On one occasion she was given cocaine in return for sexual favours, her mother said.

The girl added: "I would go out with them in their cars, drink and do stuff... I just felt nice that I had friends."

The cycle of abuse was eventually broken when her mother contacted the police who took her phone from her, severing all contact with the men.

Her mother spoke to 125 delegates at a conference on child sexual exploitation earlier.

It was organised by Lancashire Police and funded by the Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool Safeguarding Boards.

Lancashire Police said it was aimed at "sharing best practice and promoting consistency amongst different agencies".

'Absolute priority'

The victim's mother said it was vital for warning signs to be picked up quickly and reported immediately.

Det Supt Ian Critchley, of Lancashire Police, said "protecting the most vulnerable, protecting our children from being exploited for sex" was an "absolute priority".

He urged anyone who was concerned a young person was being exploited to contact police or their local council's children's services department.

No-one was arrested over the girl's case because at the time the girl did not complain to the police because she could not see that something illegal was happening.

However a group of men were served with abduction notices.

But after support given to her by different agencies she is now aware of what had really happened.

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