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Kirklees launches review after child abuse convictions

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Kirklees Metropolitan Council has launched an independent review of its response at the time of the rape and abuse of girls in Huddersfield.

Today 20 men were convicted of a total of 120 offences against 15 girls as young as 11 between 2004 and 2011.

In a statement by Kirklees director of children services Steve Walker on behalf of the council and the local safeguarding children board, he paid tribute to the courage of the survivors and acknowledged the work of West Yorkshire Police and Kirklees children’s services staff to bring the prosecutions.

He added: “The robust arrangements that we have in place including sharing intelligence and information across all agencies, mean that there is no hiding place in Kirklees for perpetrators of abuse.

“However, we would also like to reassure the public that we are in no way complacent on this issue. The safety of our children and young people is our highest priority and we are always seeking to improve our response to benefit them.”

Mr Walker added the council had asked Dr Mark Peel, a former professor of social work at Leicester University, to review the cases “to identify whether there are any lessons we can learn”.

The process has also begun to commission an independent review through the Kirklees Safeguarding Children’s Partnership of current policies and practices to establish whether there are opportunities for improvement.

Kirklees entered into a formal partnership with Leeds City Council to deliver children’s services after Ofsted found vulnerable children were not being protected during an inspection in October 2016.

An Ofsted monitoring visit in August this year found the council had made “steady progress”, with “firm foundations” in place for improvements.

Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, who was described as the ringleader of the grooming gang, was jailed for life with a minimum of 8 years after being convicted of 54 separate counts including 22 rapes involving 11 girls.

 

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