Rochdale Sex Abuse Review To Level Criticism

Mike McCarthy, North of England Correspondent

A report into a series of child sex abuse cases in Rochdale is expected to level strong criticism at police and social workers.

It follows a high-profile court case last year which involved a sex trafficking gang who preyed on vulnerable young girls.

The victims had been plied with alcohol and drugs before being passed around a group of men who were largely of Pakistani origin.

Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Police have already apologised for the way they handled the cases and fears have been raised in the town that dozens of victims may have slipped through the net.

The serious case review findings come as five men who also sexually exploited a "profoundly vulnerable and damaged" 15-year-old girl in Rochdale are due to be sentenced.

Again in this case the victim's abusers plied her with alcohol and cannabis before committing their offences.

One man was originally arrested on suspicion of rape in 2008 and freed after the girl was told by police not to have further dealings with him.

He was finally re-arrested four years later. Several men had gone on to abuse the teenager in the intervening years.

Authorities involved in the care of Rochdale's vulnerable children say they have learned lessons but the education department is expected to be critical of today's report from the town's Safeguarding Children Board.

Rochdale's MP Simon Danczuk has been campaigning for a better response to the problem from Greater Manchester Police in particular.

He told Sky News: "I'm very frustrated that it's taken so long. They should have started a serious case review straight after the trial in Rochdale and that would have ensured that we could have moved on from it much more quickly.

"There's no doubt about it, this grooming case has cast a very negative shadow right across Rochdale for far too long."

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.