We previously reported on this matter in May when seven members of a paedophile ring in Oxford were found guilty of raping and trafficking girls aged as young as 11.
A pre-sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey this week has revealed further insight into the failings of the authorities involved.
The men, who groomed and abused vulnerable girls in Oxford over an eight year period, acted “under the noses” of the authorities who showed “almost wilful blindness”, the court has heard.
Sally O’Neill QC said it was “shocking” that two of the victims were able to freely leave their children’s home to meet their abusers. She continued to describe how the abuse “was known to police and social services and, for whatever reason, there does not appear to have been any attempt to control it other than at the most superficial level.’
The two day hearing heard how one of the victims has since considered suicide while another suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse. Statements from some of the victims’ parents were also read aloud in court ahead of the sentencing of the gang and many of the parents confirmed that the abuse had ruined their daughters’ lives. One mother described how the damage done to her daughter was irrevocable. Certainly, after my experience working in a department which specialises in child abuse claims, it is clear that the trauma of being subjected to abuse at a young age has profound and long-lasting effects.
The court heard more about the extent of the psychological effect of the abuse on the victims involved, with issues ranging from post traumatic stress disorder to depression and anxiety. The statements also referred to the failures of local authorities in dealing with the abuse and some parents relayed how they themselves were blamed before the truth was uncovered.
The failings by both the police and social services have been well documented, with both authorities issuing apologies at the time of the convictions.
During the pre-sentencing hearing six of the defendants listened from the dock as the statements were read to the court. One of the defendants, Mohammed Karrar, refused to come up from the cells. He was convicted last month along with his brother, Bassam Karrar and another set of brothers, Akhtar Dogar and Anjum Dogar of charges including rape, trafficking and organising prostitution. Three other men were also convicted of abusing the girls. They will all be sentenced later this week.
Farleys has a team of solicitors who specialise in helping victims of abuse to pursue compensation claims. If you would like to discuss the possibility of making an abuse compensation claim, please get in touch with us today for free of charge advice. All calls are treated with confidence.