Manchester

Rochdale grooming: Abusers 'not fazed' by convictions, says victim

Laura
Image caption Laura (left) tells Victoria Derbyshire abusers are "not fazed" by Rochdale convictions

A victim of the Rochdale grooming gang says the convictions were still "not fazing" Asian child sex abusers.

It comes as a documentary, The Betrayed Girls is being shown on BBC One about nine Asian men jailed for grooming teenage girls in the town in 2012.

Laura, who was abused by the gang from the age of 13 until she was 17, said the targeting of girls by Asian men was still going on in Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was "committed" to tackling abusers.

Laura, whose identity is protected as a victim of a sex crime, told BBC Two's Victoria Derbyshire show said she was walking in Oldham town centre through an Asian community a couple of months ago.

"I was still getting cars pulling over to me asking me if I wanted to go for a drink," said Laura.

"It's not bothering them. I don't actually think they understand that they are doing something wrong."

Image caption Nazir Afzal said: "We cannot be complacent."

Nazir Afzal the north west's former chief crown prosecutor who brought the case against the Rochdale gang said five years on some victims nationally are still not being listened to.

Mr Afzal overturned a decision not to charge nine men who ran the child sex exploitation ring.

He said there have been "significant rises" in investigations and prosecutions into the crime and victims were more confident in reporting abuse and they are getting better support.

However, he said: "Victim support groups nationally are still telling me victims are not being consistently listened to and told the case is too difficult to bring [to court]."

He also said some victims of historical child sex exploitation were being told that police were focusing on current cases, too.

Mr Afzal said agencies must be more proactive and more "collaborative working" was needed between the police, councils and other agencies and voluntary groups.

GMP said it was "vital" they learnt the lessons from the past and it was "absolutely committed" to working with partners across Greater Manchester to tackle the sexual exploitation of children and young people.

Image caption BBC One drama Three Girls told the story of the child sex abuse in Rochdale and then failings by authorities

"We have been working tirelessly for many years to prevent this abhorrent crime from happening and provide support to victims and their families."

Rochdale Council said public services "collectively failed" the victims but lessons have "been learnt from it".

Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said: "Since 2012 the council and its partners have worked to make the changes needed, to increase knowledge, prevent harm, challenge those who wish to exploit children and better support victims and survivors."

The documentary which features testimonies from victims for the first time follows a BBC One drama Three Girls.

Child sex abuse reports in Greater Manchester

  • 1 Sept 13-31 Aug 14 - 892 reports
  • 1 Sept 14 to 31 Aug 15 - 3305 reports (271% increase)
  • 1 Sept 15 to 31 Aug 16 - 5601 reports (69% increase)
  • 1 Sept 16 to 28 June - 4437 reports

Source: Greater Manchester Police

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