Social workers and police who ignored evidence of violent sexual abuse of young girls in Oxford were products of a “culture” of turning a blind eye to children being “sexualised at an ever younger age”, an official inquiry has warned.
A Serious Case Review into grooming of girls as young as 11 in the city found they had suffered an “indescribably awful” ordeal under the noses of officials who showed a “worrying lack of curiosity”.
The Government has been accused of trying to suppress a dossier of secret files which reveal that Margaret Thatcher knew about child sex abuse allegations against the MP Cyril Smith – before he was knighted.
The documents, only made public this week after an intervention from the Information Commissioner, include an undated letter marked “secret” warning Ms Thatcher that there was “the risk that such an award could give rise to adverse criticism”.
Children in the UK have suffered sexual abuse on an “industrial scale” with authorities failing to tackle the problem, David Cameron has said.
Outlining plans to tackle child sexual exploitation, the PM accused people and organisations of “walking on by”.
West Yorkshire Police have charged 25 men with child sex offences including rape, grooming and trafficking.
The offences are alleged to have been committed between 2006 and 2011 and largely relate to one girl who was under 16 at the time.
The men are mainly from Halifax or Bradford, but also Huddersfield, Derby, Shipley, Nantwich and Newport in Wales.