William Eichler 28 November 2018

Council offers convicted sex offender access to victim’s child

Rotherham Council has come under fire after offering a convicted sex offender access to the child of one of his victims.

Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of the Rotherham child exploitation scandal, has called for a change in the law after the man who raped her was offered parental access to her son.

The local authority approached Arshid Hussain, who was jailed for 35 years in 2016 after being convicted of 23 child sex offences, because he was listed as a ‘respondent’ in a Family Court case.

In a widely shared video on Twitter, Ms. Woodhouse said Hussein was ‘a danger to myself and to other children’. ‘I’ve also been able to prove that he is a direct danger towards my son,’ she added.

Ms. Woodhouse was a key witness in South Yorkshire Police's Operation Clover investigation, which saw six people jailed in 2016 for the sexual exploitation of 15 young girls in Rotherham.

A campaigner and author of Just a Child, a book about how she survived abuse, Ms. Woodhouse called for the 1989 Children’s Act to be changed to ‘ensure rapists can't gain access to children conceived through rape and abuse.’

‘This is happening all over the country, and it needs to stop. Children are being removed [and] being given to rapists, to murderers,’ she said.

A Government spokesperson said: 'This is obviously a very distressing incident and the relevant departments and local authority will work urgently to understand and address what has happened in this case.

'Local authorities can apply to courts to request permission not to notify parents without parental responsibility about care proceedings, and courts should consider the potential harm to the child and mother when making this decision.'

A Rotherham Council spokesman said: 'Today’s further disclosures in relation to proceedings in the family court have understandably caused widespread concern and upset.

'As the public would expect, we have already begun to review the specifics of the case. As we have said previously we are not able to comment publicly on those specifics.

'However, we must be clear that at no stage has it been the intention of the council to put any child at risk, or to allow any convicted child sexual exploitation offender to have care of any child.

'Concluding the review will take time, and we are asking the Ministry of Justice to work with us on this to ensure that it is completed thoroughly and properly.

'Furthermore, we are in contact with the Ministry of Justice about how Practice Directions which apply to cases in the Family Courts should be applied, and we will be seeking further conversations with government officials about this as a matter of urgency.

'It is imperative that clarity is realised as soon as possible, not just for Rotherham, but to ensure that other councils across the country who may face similar issues are able to act with certainty and no more survivors of abuse have to experience further trauma.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Social Worker - Physical & Sensory Impairments

Essex County Council
£45217 - £54395 per annum + Flexible Working, Hybrid, CPD
The Team The Mid Essex Physical & Sensory Impairments team support people from eighteen years old with a wide range of conditions and difficulties England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Residential Worker - Waking Nights

Essex County Council
£30232.8 - £31713.5 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pen
Residential Worker - Waking NightsPermanent, Part Time£30,232.80 to £31,713.50 per annum (includes allowance)Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Residential Worker

Essex County Council
£26834.5 - £34244.1 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pen
Residential WorkerPermanent, Full Time£26,834.50 up to £34,244.10 per annum (includes allowance)Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Domestic Abuse - Project and Programme Officer WMF1096e

Westmorland and Furness Council
£32,076 - £33,024
This is an exciting opportunity to join the Safe and Strong Communities team Kendal, Cumbria
Recuriter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Adviser - WMF1097e

Westmorland and Furness Council
£44,428 - £45,441 Fixed term for 12 months
We are looking for someone to help lead the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Cumbria / Countywide
Recuriter: Westmorland and Furness Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.