Thursday, February 08, 2007

Major Sexual Abuse Investigation underway in Oldham

It is reported nationally today that a major investigation is underway in Oldham into the sexual abuse of as many as 20 young girls between the ages of 12 and 17.

Inspector Dave Sacks of Greater Manchester Police said: "A significant number of arrests have been made and five people have been charged in relation to investigations into the exploitation of children in Oldham."Officers have arrested more than 20 men, five of whom have been charged with offences including abduction and rape.

The girls are described as being befriended by older men who buy them gifts such as mobile phones, electronic gadgets etc, posing as “boyfriends”. Later the relationship changes and they are forced to engage in sexual acts, and are physically harmed.

This process is known as “grooming” and unfortunately is not uncommon. (NWN: our emphasis)

The behavioural patterns are usually the same; a girl is befriended by a man, often just a couple of years older than her, who offers her attention and affection. She might be introduced to drugs by this man. She will usually be introduced to other men, usually considerably older and be groomed to engage in sexual intercourse with several men. The girl may be threatened, physically abused, she may be deliberately isolated from family and friends so she has no one to confide in, she may be infatuated by the “boyfriend” and think she is involved in an “equal relationship” where she is in control of what she is doing. Mobile phones are used to track the girls whereabouts and control their behaviour. The girl may be “given” to other men in exchange for payment. A downward spiral towards sex work may begin.

Sex with a person under the age of 13 is rape, whether there appears to be consent or not. Sex with a person under the age of16 is a criminal offence, whether there appears to be consent or not.

The psychological impact of such abuse is usually extremely damaging and long lasting. The survivors of such abuse are likely to require specialist treatment to alleviate the symptoms.

Statement on website of LINDER MYERS, a Manchester solicitors 20/12/06.

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