Kirklees Council 'offers no support' to Huddersfield grooming victim

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A grooming victim who was raped and abused in Huddersfield from the age of 13 has been offered no help from the council at the centre of the scandal.

The woman was one of several victims to give evidence during court trials which ended in October and led to 20 men being jailed for the abuse of 15 girls.

Her mother said Kirklees Council had promised support and counselling but her daughter had received nothing.

The council said it would be contacting victims to offer "appropriate support".

The men were convicted of more than 120 offences, with the ringleader given a life sentence and the others jailed for between five and 18 years.

The girls were plied with drink and drugs and then "used and abused at will" in a seven-year "campaign of rape and abuse" between 2004 and 2011.

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The victim's mother said the women who gave evidence were told by West Yorkshire Police and the council that arrangements would be made to ensure they got counselling but nothing had been offered.

She said her daughter had taken a step back since testifying.

"It's been absolutely horrendous because it's opened everything back up which had been locked away," she said.

"She's gone back to not wanting to go out on her own.

"Some days she won't get dressed. She's very weepy, mood changes. It's really opened everything up for her."

An NSPCC spokesman said: "The horrifying abuse inflicted by this remorseless gang of men was extremely shocking and so it is imperative that their victims have the appropriate help and care from the earliest opportunity."

'Let down for years'

An independent review, led by Professor Mark Peel, is to take place to see whether the council failed the victims.

The mother said she had concerns about how this would work.

"It should be a public inquiry. It should not be held behind closed doors," she said.

"As a parent I've got a right to ask questions, as a victim my daughter's got a right to ask questions.

"I think it will focus on social services and the police and it goes a lot deeper then that. It's education, it's housing and we were let down for years."

In a statement, the council said now the trials had ended it was working with partners "to identify those survivors who require support".

It said: "It is important to understand the individual needs of survivors in order to ensure that effective help can be put in place."

West Yorkshire Police said it had made referrals to relevant agencies in respect of the victims.

Gillian Gibbons, CEO of Pace UK (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) said it would be working with Kirklees Council in the new year on how it can support the victims.

"It tends to be that services withdraw once the court case has finished," she said.

"Going through a court case can be very traumatic, but afterwards families are left high and dry.

"We recognise it as an unmet need, and we will be working with the council on ways to continue to support the families who have been victims of child sexual exploitation."