The Guardian reports that 13 men, all of Somali origin, have been jailed after being convicted of the systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable girls in Bristol. The girls, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers, often for money, and assaulted in homes, parks and a hotel.
Charles Derham, specialist child abuse solicitor for Verisona Law, comments that these recent convictions are sadly reminiscent of the Rotherham scandal, which raised the issue of local authority culpability relating to social services failures when making care decisions.
A serious case review will be examining whether more should have been done to protect these girls in Bristol, and this may give an indication as to whether the local authority or the police are at fault in any way.
Looking at similar cases we are dealing with, it is often the case that communication and interaction between the police and social services seems to have been haphazard and disorganised at times. It appears that authorities have failed to link up current allegations to potential historic allegations made, and that they have unfairly doubted allegations made by people who have been abused or their families.
We find that many of the clients we represent are looking for justice in relation to failures by the system to protect them at their most vulnerable time. We do all we can to obtain the full records behind each case - so we can understand exactly how the police and social services treated allegations and whether there were any failings in child protection.
This is not always straightforward but we have a lot of experience of investigating these cases and know where to look for documents and evidence that might have become ‘lost’ in the system. If we identify failures that led to the abuse occurring, we can build a case and claim compensation for you, for physical and mental injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse, please contact us for advice (you will also find a lot of information on this website). There is no obligation and we will treat what you tell us in the strictest confidence.