18 May 2017
BBC’s ‘Three Girls’: Have Lessons Been Learned?
The events in the BBC’s incredibly harrowing and powerful drama ‘Three Girls’ were based on the real life experiences of survivors of the Rochdale grooming scandal.
What Happened Next?
These girls endured the most appalling and extreme suffering. But worse still, some of the agencies involved, such as the police and social services, believed that girls who were being sexually assaulted were making “lifestyle choices”, and as a result of these attitudes, they were badly let down.
In bringing the case she wanted to secure some accountability from social services who had let her down so badly.
The reality is, they were victims of appalling abuse, often involving physical assaults and threats of violence. They were trapped and in need of help from social services and the police, which came many years too late.
Their abusers, nine men aged 24 to 59, were eventually jailed for serious sexual offences.
Of course, there wasn’t a fourth episode detailing what came next for the characters in the BBC drama. In real life, they have tried to rebuild their lives and in doing that, have shown extraordinary courage and determination.
My client, Girl A, portrayed as ‘Holly’ in the programme, brought legal action and received a six-figure settlement. In bringing the case she wanted to secure some accountability from social services who had let her down so badly. She also wanted to raise awareness of what had happened to her and ensure that she could rebuild her life including going back into education.
The events depicted in ‘Three Girls’ are deeply harrowing but as a result of the greater awareness of child sexual exploitation achieved as a result of this programme and other publicity about these cases, changes are being made in some areas of the country to stop the abuse and exploitation of children in the future.
But sadly this is not happening everywhere: just this week it was revealed that similar events took place in Wirral, with Wirral Council’s social services also failing to safeguard the victims involved. In Wirral, Ara and Vino Rajenthiram carried out a sickening campaign of grooming and sexual exploitation that could have been stopped if social services had acted upon suspicions. The Rajenthirams’ targeting of vulnerable girls started in 2010 and ended in January 2016 when police investigating the brief disappearance of one victim uncovered a network of abuse and exploitation.
We hope that lessons will also be learnt from this case to ensure that future generations of children are properly protected.
Richard Scorer continues to represent clients involved in the Rochdale grooming scandal.
The specialist abuse lawyers at Slater and Gordon offer a free and completely confidential consultation to anyone affected by sexual abuse. Call us anytime 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.
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