Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Oxford Child Abuse Case

Operation Bulfinch ( relating to the Oxford child abuse case) has finally bought the perpetrators to account. Reading through the newspaper report in the Oxford Times I cant help but ask why haven’t heads rolled. All I see is some overpaid CEO trying to mitigate her part in this debacle.

I cant understand why some senior council official  who is earning more than the prime minister has not yet resigned for the damage that has been caused to these girls. It doesn't matter when she acted the point is this happened on her watch. It is her responsibility. These girls were failed by the those who are paid to look after them.

This was a monumental screw up!

From the Oxford Times

Joanna Simons, chief executive since 2005, earning £182,431 a year,said it was “beyond comprehension” an organised gang was acting on the scale it was.

The Old Bailey trial heard one social worker claim it was the “general consensus” amongst staff at a children’s home that one of the victims was being groomed.

And a school supporter worker also told the court nine out of 10 social workers knew what was going on.

“As soon as we suspected there was something big going on we took immediate action.”

The chief executive insisted social workers had acted upon concerns

She said: “There was huge concern among social workers about these girls and this is reflected in the fact that a lot of action was taken before Operation Bullfinch.

“Girls were sent to secure units and out of county placements, staff followed girls and tried hard to get them to speak and took away their mobile phones.

“However we did not understand the grooming process in the same way that we do now or that there was a gang in operation. We are sorry we were not able to act sooner.”

Simons said previously social workers had usually focused only on the families.

“One of the big things we have learnt is social workers have to be more like detectives and detectives have to be more like social workers.”

When asked if how she felt that this had happened when she was in charge, she said: “It is the worst thing I have ever seen in over 30 years in local government.

“We are all deeply affected by this and we are incredibly sorry we did not stop it sooner. Everybody feels responsibility for this.”

“One of the big things we have learnt is social workers have to be more like detectives and detectives have to be more like social workers.”

She declined to comment on whether she had considered resigning.

And she said there would now be a serious case review, adding: “We will absolutely be implementing any recommendations that come out if it.”

The council head said about 2,500 staff, including social workers, teachers and health workers, had been trained to spot the signs of sexual exploitation.

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