Child abuse inquiry is a ‘cover up’, says detective who exposed grooming scandal
The police officer who exposed one of Britain’s worst grooming scandals has blasted the national child abuse inquiry as a “cover up”.
Maggie Oliver claims it is ignoring victims’ testimony in favour of reports from institutions – and refusing to look at evidence in grooming blackspots like Rotherham, Rochdale and Telford.
The ex-detective constable, who resigned from Greater Manchester Police over its treatment of victims in Rochdale, says two thirds of a statement she gave to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was not used.
Ms Oliver, one of a string of experts slamming the probe, said: “For me, this is another cover-up. It seems the intention is to turn a blind eye to the facts.
“The inquiry is a platform for those who have failed kids for decades to say everything is fantastic. It’s a shambles.”
Ms Oliver, whose Foundation has supported around 100 abuse survivors in the past year, added: “My inbox is rammed with victims’ messages. I could have brought 20 to the inquiry.”
It has heard from a raft of police and council officials but just two victims. Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said: “It feels like a hugely wasted opportunity.”
Rotherham victim Sammy Woodhouse, 35, said she’d tried to tell the inquiry about alleged misconduct by professionals but her concerns were dismissed. She said: “I haven’t trusted this inquiry since day one.”
The investigation into abuse by organised crime groups is one of 15 strands of the inquiry announced in 2014 – which has cost £100 million so far.
But instead of probing towns like Rotherham, Rochdale and Telford where abuse by paedophile gangs took place, it is focusing on six council areas: St Helens, Tower Hamlets, Swansea, Durham, Bristol and Warwickshire.
Dino Nocivelli, of specialist child abuse law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “Working class victims have often been ignored by the police and social services – and this is potentially happening again.”
An inquiry spokesman said: “This is a forward-looking investigation into child sexual exploitation by organised networks. Instead of going over previous reviews and inquiries, we are examining whether lessons have been learned from them or if children are still at risk from sexual exploitation in 2020.
“We are focusing on six areas with a range of sizes and social characteristics, to delve deeper into the key issues.
“The inquiry published all the parts of Ms Oliver’s statement that were relevant. Victims and survivors are at the heart of this investigation.”
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