Social worker 'failed to safeguard' victims of Rochdale grooming gang, tribunal told
A social worker failed to safeguard vulnerable young victims of the Rochdale grooming gang and closed their cases prematurely, a tribunal heard.
Deborah MacQueen allegedly failed to adequately safeguard up to 11 vulnerable girls who were groomed by the nine men while she worked for Rochdale Council.
She faces a raft of allegations surrounding the children, from January 2005 to September 2011, which claim she failed to adequately protect youngsters who were in ‘grave danger’.
The gang were convicted and jailed for a total of 70 years in May 2012 for grooming girls as young as 13.
Police believe there could have been as many as 47 victims.
The men gave their victims drink and drugs before ‘passing them around' for sex. Abuse took place at two takeaway restaurants.
Ringleader Shabir Ahmed, now 64, was jailed for 22 years for repeatedly raping a girl. One victim said the father-of-four asked the girls involved to call him ‘daddy’.
A subsequent investigation was carried out by the council to determine if proper protection procedures had been followed. Ms MacQueen was a manager in the council’s social work team, the panel heard.
She admits she decided ‘child one’ was not at risk of continuing harm without considering her learning disability or her mother’s ability to protect her.
She also admits allowing the case to be closed without ensuring that specialist intervention was arranged for the vulnerable teen.
Ms MacQueen further admits allowing the cases of three other children - known only as child two, five and eight - to be closed despite information that they were at risk of harm or sexual exploitation.
The social worker also acknowledges that she failed to undertake or organise an assessment of the risk posed by another child’s uncle and his son, whom the youngster was living with.
She denied allegations of misconduct or incompetence relating to seven other victims and that her fitness to practice was impaired at the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service in London.
Giving evidence Sheila Sutherland, who led the investigation on behalf of Rochdale Council, described the ‘indefensible’ decisions made in relation to ‘child one’.
The panel heard the child’s older brother was associated with a man convicted of paedophilia, while the young victim also suffered with a learning disability.
Ms Sutherland said: “With the other factors involved, it is indefensible to close the case, given the deterioration of circumstances in this family.
“It had now been made more difficult, so I do not see how that would lead you to close it.
“I would just say that Ms MacQueen was not the only manager involved, but the managers in this case have made poor decisions generally.
“I don’t think she responded adequately at all, and nor does she seem aware of the grave danger they are being led into.”
The panel also heard that ‘child one’, whose mother was an alcoholic, made multiple disclosures to the authorities about her sexual activity with two older Asian males - who she slept with in exchange for booze, it is claimed.
But Ms MacQueen closed the case after noting a ‘dramatic change to the child’s lifestyle’.
Ms Sutherland said: “I can find no basis or justification for Deborah MacQueen’s decision to close this case. I consider her practice to be wholly inadequate and very dangerous.”
A Health Care and Professions Council panel must decide if her actions constitute misconduct and incompetence, and whether her fitness to practice is impaired.
Ms MacQueen denies failing to properly safeguard seven children, and that her errors in relation to four children amount to misconduct. She further denies her fitness to practice is impaired by reason of misconduct. The hearing continues.
NWN: This covering up was systemic. Probably this poor woman was a small part of the 'turning a blind eye' . Just like the 'turning a blind eye' is still happening for the Grenfell Tower incident . It's the mad marxists who implemented this policy that emanated through all the state services, Police, Council and the Social Services. They are all full of politically correct drones.If your not PC in these services you do not get employed - simple as that.This case seems to be a case of 'throwing this woman in front of the train', to protect others higher up the establishments 'food chain'.