Laura Sharman 11 June 2019

Council apologises for failing to protect girls from grooming gang

Kirklees Council has apologised for failing to protect two girls from abuse, after an independent review found opportunities were lost to protect them from exploitation.

The review into historic child sexual abuse was conducted by social work expert Dr Peel.

Mel Meggs, the council’s director of children’s services, said: ‘Dr Peel has been clear that the vast majority of cases were handled in line with the policy and practice of the time. However, the studies of ‘Girl 4’ and ‘Girl 8’ show that, historically, professionals did not always spot the signs of exploitation and did not always respond appropriately to concerns.

’We are truly sorry that these two girls were not protected in the right way.

’We are far from unique in experiencing CSE in our district, but we continue to leave no stone unturned. As a partnership, we are clear that Kirklees will lead the way in tackling and preventing these terrible crimes so that young people are kept safe.’

Last year, 20 men were imprisoned for their part in the abuse, which occured between 2004 and 2011.

Jacqui Gedman, chief executive of Kirklees Council, added: ‘We commissioned Dr Peel’s report because we were determined to gain a fully independent view of our practice at the time of these cases. We have been completely open in our desire to examine our own actions and make every improvement we possibly can.

’We absolutely agree with Dr Peel that a small number of the cases could, and should, have been handled differently at the time and on behalf of the council I want to apologise to the girls that we let down. This is a common theme in reviews of historic cases around the country and we must all ensure that we learn from the past.’

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