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MP Lucy Allan demands new Telford child sex abuse inquiry

Telford | News | Published:

Telford MP Lucy Allan is to ask Prime Minister Theresa May to order an independent 'Rotherham-style' inquiry into child sexual exploitation in the town.

Ms Allan made the call after meeting with a victim last week who told of her experiences – and claimed many of the worst offenders were still walking the streets today.

Seven men from the town were jailed for a total of nearly 50 years as a result of Operation Chalice in 2012.

An internal inquiry was carried out by Telford & Wrekin Council and its child safeguarding board into how the problem was being tackled in the town.

One victim branded the findings a "whitewash" after no-one was disciplined and the council claimed agencies were "working well together".

Now Ms Allan says more need to be done and that she will be pushing the Prime Minister for action.

"I am pleased that Telford & Wrekin Council has carried out an inquiry into child sexual exploitation," the MP said.

"However, the terms of reference for the council's inquiry specifically excluded a serious case review or a 'Jay' style inquiry such as that held in Rotherham.

"The council's thorough report has focused on the positive work that is being done now.

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"I am pleased the council is working with partners on prevention and support for victims and families.

"However, it is also essential to fully understand how and why this happened, which must involve looking back to learn the lessons of the past.

"By only focusing on the positive work being done today, victims are left feeling their voices are not being heard, and that no one is accountable for mistakes that were made.

"Whilst looking at the past is inevitably uncomfortable, glossing over it understates the impact on the lives of these young women and on their families.

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"I want victims' voices to be heard.

"I want there to be a full understanding of how and why this happened.

"I want the cultural perceptions and attitudes towards women, and the role this played in allowing the issue to be unaddressed for so long, to be fully explored.

"Now the council has completed its own report, it is appropriate for an inquiry independent of the council and other authorities, to take place to address this issue from the perspective of the young women and families affected."

In 2014, an independent report into a child sexual scandal in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, revealed 1,400 girls had been targeted by gangs over 14 years – and that authorities did little to address the grooming problem. Government commissioners were forced to take over the council.

Earlier this year, a key group of abusers were jailed for a total of 104 years.

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