An investigation has revealed the shocking extent of child sex abuse in one of Britain’s biggest cities amid claims police failures allowed evil grooming gangs and child abusers to slip through the net
Almost 1,000 girls under 16 have been raped since 2010 in Greater Manchester.
And 6,863 children have been sexually assaulted in an area spanning ten districts in the past five years, sickening figures show.
There were 937 sex attacks on girls below the age of just 13, with 322 “assaulted by penetration”.
The alarming revelations came from a Freedom of Information request after Greater Manchester Police and social services were blasted over their handling of the horrific crime.
Ex detective constable Margaret Oliver said child sex beasts are walking free in Manchester because of the force’s failure to investigate abuse claims.
And she told how she passed on the names of at least 26 victims – and men they had identified as abusers – only to see no action taken.
Of the 931 rape victims girls under 16, our investigation found, a staggering 519 of them were younger than 13.
The appalling figures also show 32 children were made to witness a sexual assault by adult men and five were paid to have sex with their attackers.
GMP is now facing the kind of backlash levelled at South Yorkshire Police over the Rotherham sex exploitation scandal.
And more forces will come under the spotlight in the coming weeks after Norfolk police chief constable Simon Bailey warned “the stone will be lifted” on this “hidden crime”.
Last night Parents Against Child Sexual Expoloitation, set up after a child was murdered by a grooming gang, branded our “shocking” revelations “just the tip of the iceberg” and blamed a “perception that the girls had been written off”.
A spokeswoman said: “It is difficult not to be shocked when you look at those figures.
“When you think that each of those 931 rape cases and 6,863 sexual assault victims are young children whose lives have been torn apart, it is hard not to feel sick
“But we as a charity have been at pains to raise awareness on this appalling crime for years.
“Child sex abuse is going on front of our eyes and now it really is time to wake up to it.
“Rotherham just wasn’t one bad apple in a barrel. Just as Rochdale wasn’t. And there will be more to come.
“Of course police have to share the blame. They did not consider these victims as reliable witnesses and there was a perception that girls were willing participants and that they were children who were already written off.
“They were desperate for help but in their hour of need they were either blamed or ignored.
“But this depravity is still going on and we are not seeing it. That has to change and fast.”
In the past two-and-a-half years the Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched 10 inquiries into alleged mishandling of sexual assault and rape complaints by GMP.
There have been more investigations into handling of sex crimes at the GMP, the second largest force in England and Wales, than at London’s Metropolitan Police, the country’s biggest force.
Police are finally starting to act. A crackdown on child grooming in Greater Manchester last month to mark the launch of the force’s IT’s Not Okay crusade saw 22 arrests.
Businesses and shops were raided after tip-offs.
Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: “Historically mistakes have been made; however, we are more determined than ever to get it right.
“It is crucial that the children of Greater Manchester understand what child sexual exploitation is, to recognise when this happening to them.”
St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre
St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare service to men, women and children living in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area who have experienced rape or sexual assault, whether this has happened recently or in the past.
Their Centre comprises a team of experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience in advising, supporting and treating anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted.
The St Mary’s SARC is based in St Mary’s Hospital. Their opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
Contact them on our 24hour phone line 0161 276 6515