25th Jan, 2021

Reports of Warwickshire girl's abuse 'not taken seriously for months', mother tells inquiry

AN EXPLOITED Warwickshire girl was ‘robbed of part of her childhood’ after reports of her abuse were not taken seriously for months, her mother has told an inquiry.

The woman told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) that she raised ‘real concerns’ with social services in Warwickshire that her daughter was being sexually exploited by men, but that this was not taken seriously until ‘nine months later’.

In a statement read by counsel Kim Harrison, the woman said: “This delay had catastrophic consequences for her.”

Ms Harrison said the girl was placed in foster care throughout part of her childhood, but that the intervention efforts were characterised by ‘instability and chaos’ caused by changes in staff.

Ms Harrison said the girl had eight social workers in four years, and 14 foster care placements.

In one case, she went missing 48 times in 84 days after being placed in the same area she had been exploited, the inquiry was told.

Ms Harrison said men were ‘still able to continue to abuse’ the girl, despite efforts of social services and police.

In a statement, the mother said: “She has been the victim of child sexual exploitation since a very young age and has been robbed of part of her childhood.

“She is still not at a stage in her life where she is able to fully recognise and accept she is a victim of child sexual exploitation.”

The mother said she believed her daughter’s attachment disorder, the shame of her ordeal, and her distance from family and education at the time contributed to her inability to speak out.

The mother added: “Something is clearly wrong.”

This strand of the inquiry, into institutional responses to child sexual exploitation by organised networks, will last for two weeks.

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