Over the last few months, detectives have arrested 55 men allegedly involved in historical child sexual abuse.
The allegations have come from seven women who have reported being sexually abused as children, in the Dewsbury and Batley areas during 2002 and 2009. These men have been interviewed and released pending further inquiries and as a result of the alarmingly high number of suspects that have been questioned it is likely that there are more victims who have not yet reported similar abuse.
DI Ian Thornes described child sexual abuse as an ‘abhorrent and heinous crime’ and urged victims to come forward, reassuring them that they would be ‘listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals’.
Although the teams of specialist safeguarding units across each district in West Yorkshire have been highlighted by the police, there has been an apparent failing in these areas to allow for an investigation on this scale. It has not yet been disclosed whether the men investigated committed these acts alone, or as part of a much larger and connected group.
As we have seen in the past, notably in the case of the Rochdale child sex abuse ring in which Farleys Solicitors represented several victims, the abusers can be familiar with each other, work together and even conspire together to form a child sex trafficking ring. A total of 19 men in the Rochdale case have been convicted, producing a much larger total of 47 girls who were identified as victims of child sexual exploitation through the police investigation. Considering the ratio of abusers to victims that this trafficking ring produced, it is possible that the total number of victims in the recent Yorkshire investigation could be much higher.
Sexual abuse, as we have seen too often, can have a detrimental impact on the lives of victims. Children at their most vulnerable can be taken advantage of by people in positions of power, or by those who purposely source out victims from deprived backgrounds who are then bribed and threatened into keeping quiet. This abuse can take place over several years in which the victim’s lives can become severely impaired in terms of their educational and mental well being.
It is highly important to acknowledge abuse and the damage it has on the lives of the victims, as it prohibits normalising these acts, especially when the abusers are well respected members of the community. Bringing these atrocities to light can help victims in many ways. Firstly it allows us to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent further children being exploited. It does not just allow us to quantify the suffering that victims have endured but can also be the first step in providing them the support that they were deprived of as children. This can take many forms, from Local Authorities acknowledging the wrong doings that they unknowingly let occur and therefore providing closure for victims, as well as counselling with the hopes of helping victims through the trauma that they have experienced.
At Farleys Solicitors we have a specialist team dealing with victims of sexual abuse. If you would like to speak to someone in the strictest of confidence and sensitivity please contact a member of our Abuse Team on 0330 134 6430 or complete the contact form on our website.