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The widely reported Manchester sex abuse scandal has revealed the extent of failures within the police and social services in the early 2000s. A report has found that authorities were aware of children suffering ‘the most profound abuse’, yet failed to protect them.
The focus of the report is Victoria Agoglia, who sadly died in 2003 aged 15. Victoria was placed in Local Authority care following the death of her mother. She was placed with carers who were aware of her being sexually exploited and injected with heroin, which consequently lead to her death by overdose. At her inquest, the Coroner acknowledged some concerns in the case however described Victoria to have a ‘propensity to provide sexual favours’, removing focus from the coercion she was subjected to and instead highlighting the institutionalised view of vulnerable girls being seen as the problem opposed to the victim.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said that Victoria’s death “exposed a network of paedophiles brazenly abusing young people in care”. Following Victoria’s death, 97 suspects were identified however only a few were convicted due to the police investigation being closed prematurely. Operation Augusta was then launched to eradicate the ‘sexual exploitation’ of children within the care system. It identified 57 potential victims and up to 97 ‘persons of interest’, meaning authorities were aware of the profound abuse however did not protect them from perpetrators, as it was abruptly closed in 2005.
The recent report has therefore highlighted failure by police and Local Authorities to protect vulnerable young people from being exploited. Greater Manchester Police have admitted that the authorities ‘fell short’ when investigating such cases.
Natalie Marrison, Head of Personal Injury and Abuse, leads an experienced team in investigating cases of historic sexual abuse, whether this be through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or against Local Authorities who have failed safeguard vulnerable young people.
Our Personal Injury and Abuse departments at Ramsdens Solicitors have a wealth of knowledge in representing children in claims arising from neglectful care and abusive treatment, often where Local Authorities have assumed responsibility for that child.
If you would like a confidential discussion with a member of our team, please contact 0113 887 1834 to book a free information session at any of our offices.