This week has seen the report of yet another UK “grooming gang” pimping and exploiting vulnerable underage girls, this time in Manchester. (There is a long newspaper report here.)
The men targeted care homes.
The victims repeatedly told those charged with their care that they were being raped and given hard drugs, but social services, medics, and police showed enormous reluctance to get involved, an attitude that seemed to be endorsed by the coroner investigating the 2003 death of Victoria Agoglia, a 15-year-old victim of a heroin overdose (her caregivers were not to blame, he found). This death did lead to a wider investigation, but it was starved of resources and then shut down.
It has become a depressingly familiar pattern. The Rochdale, Bristol, and Oxford sex abuse gangs have gained the most attention, but there are now “case reviews” and public inquiry reports from an ever-lengthening list of locations. The victims number in the thousands. It is far from clear that the lessons of these cases have been learned: the Greater Manchester Police were hanging tough and refusing to reopen the investigation, which they had mysteriously shut down in 2005, as recently as 2018. What, one might ask, is going on?