Council And Police Apologise Over Child Sex Abuse In Oxford

A Serious Case Review into child sex abuse in Oxford has revealed many failures by the police and social services.

The review found that the exploitation could have been identified earlier and that errors were made.

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: "The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board has today published its independent Serious Case Review into Child Sexual Exploitation within Oxfordshire. We have contributed fully to the review and accept its findings.

"The independent review highlighted that agencies including Thames Valley Police could have identified the exploitation between 2004 and 2010 earlier than it did and many errors were made.

"The review acknowledges that we have been willing to learn and change.

"We have examined what went wrong and we are doing all that we can to put things right.

"After the 2013 trial, I personally apologised to the victims and their families for not identifying the systematic nature of the abuse sooner, that we were too reliant on victims supporting criminal proceedings and that it took too long to bring the offenders to justice.

"I want to reiterate that apology today.

"The Force has made significant progress in the way we prevent, identify, disrupt and investigate Child Sexual Exploitation."

The serious case review found that more than 300 young people may have suffered grooming and abuse or were at risk of becoming victims between 1999 and 2014.

Oxfordshire County Council has also issued an apology after the multi-agency child protection system failed to prevent horrific abuse of six girls.

Jim Leivers, Oxfordshire County Council's Director for Children, Education and Families, said: "Like the whole community we are horrified at what happened in Oxford. We fully accept that we made many mistakes and missed opportunities to stop the abuse.

"After the trial, the council apologised to the girls for not stopping their abuse sooner, and I do so unreservedly again today. They suffered dreadfully at the hands of these violent men, and despite many attempts we failed to keep them safe while they were in our care.

"Since then we have been determined to make improvements and have worked hard to ensure that everything possible is done to make children safer in Oxfordshire.

"We are totally committed to tackling this abuse and the county council has already implemented all the recommendations for improvement, which the report acknowledges."


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