Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kirklees Council calls for child sex abuse inquiry

Sajid Javid Image copyright PA
Image caption Home Secretary Sajid Javid will be asked to launch an independent inquiry by councillors in Kirklees

The Home Secretary will be asked by a council involved in a grooming scandal to launch an inquiry into child sexual exploitation.

Kirklees Council voted to write to Sajid Javid requesting an independent review of how abuse allegations have been handled across England.

It comes after 20 men from Huddersfield were convicted of raping and abusing 15 girls in the town.

The Home Office said it was "committed to tackling child sexual abuse".

During a series of three trials at Leeds Crown Court, victims of sexual exploitation and their families said they had tried to get help from the authorities but, as one parent said, they "did not want to know".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Twenty men were jailed in October for raping and abusing 15 girls in Huddersfield between 2004 and 2011

On Wednesday councillors voted in favour of writing to Mr Javid to ask for a national inquiry "to examine the role of public bodies and statutory agencies charged with protecting children and apprehending and convicting criminals".

Conservative councillors had originally tabled a motion to request a review which concentrated solely on Kirklees.

But Labour councillors amended the motion to call for an England-wide inquiry.

Conservative group leader David Hall, who tabled the original motion, said the existing inquiry launched in Kirklees in the wake of the recent trials was "not far reaching enough nor does it demonstrate a satisfactory level of independence" and warned that a national inquiry would shift the focus away from the area.

However, the leader of the Labour-run authority, Shabir Pandor, said the matter was "bigger than what is happening in Kirklees".

The ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is set to examine child sexual exploitation by organised networks, though it is understood it will not look at each and every location where grooming has been identified.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Home Secretary has been clear in his condemnation of these horrific crimes and has made a commitment to tackle child sexual abuse in all its forms.

"As well as strengthening the capacity and capability of law enforcement, the Government launched the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to get to the truth, expose what has gone wrong and learn lessons for the future."

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