In a revealing 173-page review commissioned by Andy Burnham covering the period from 2004 to 2013, Greater Manchester Police and local authorities in Rochdale are laid bare, exposing a series of profound failings in addressing the alarming plight of hundreds of youngsters, identified as potential victims of abuse by Asian men.

The comprehensive review, focusing on 111 cases in Rochdale during the specified period, has unearthed disturbing findings:

  • Compelling evidence of widespread organized sexual exploitation of children.

  • Statutory agencies failed to respond appropriately.

  • Neglect of addressing the threat of child sexual abuse from 2004 to 2007.

  • A high probability that at least 74 children were being sexually exploited, with serious failures to protect the child in 48 of those cases.

  • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) labelled as a low priority and under-resourced by Greater Manchester Police.

  • Identification of 96 men still deemed a potential risk to children.

The report unequivocally highlights that the scale of abuse in Rochdale was known to senior and middle managers in both the police and children’s social care. However, the problem was not given “sufficient priority.”

Further revelations in the report indicate that the NHS crisis intervention team in Rochdale referred “potentially 260 victims” to Children’s Social Care Services, and shockingly, very little action was taken over the years. Additionally, a police investigation into two takeaway shops in Rochdale involving 30 adult male suspects was prematurely aborted due to inadequate resources, and the Crown Prosecution Service deeming the main child victim an unreliable witness.

Addressing the public at a press conference, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester admitted, “One of the primary responsibilities of the police is to protect the vulnerable from the cruel and predatory, and in this regard, we failed you.”

In a notable 2012 development, nine men involved in a child sexual abuse ring were imprisoned under ‘Operation Span’. Thirteen police officers were part of this operation, with a number of these officers being referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for their conduct. Although seven received ‘managerial advice,’ no criminal culpability was found on behalf of any police officer.

Regrettably, the Rochdale review underscores that serious lessons have not been learned, and young people continue to be failed by local authorities as has been the case throughout Manchester and Oldham.

At Farleys, we have a dedicated abuse team that has handled numerous cases on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse against social services and under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme. In addition, we also have a team with expertise in bringing action against the police.

We understand it can be difficult to talk about what you have experienced but will be available by phone on our dedicated abuse line 0330 134 6430, by email, or through the online chat below, to discuss your case in confidence, whenever you are ready.