Shropshire

Telford abuse: 'I want to kill my son's groomers'

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Media captionTelford abuse mother claims son was used by men for sex

A mother who claims her teenage son was groomed for sex by men in Telford says abuse in the town is ongoing.

Speaking anonymously, she said her son was given money, drugs and alcohol by men who until six months ago "were using him for sex".

The Shropshire town is being dogged by fresh child abuse claims, including reports of widespread grooming dating back to the 1980s.

West Mercia Police said preventing child sexual abuse was a "priority".

But the mother told the BBC abuse there was not simply historical and she knew people who were "still going through it".

Image copyright Gavin Dickson
Image caption Telford has been in the spotlight after the Sunday Mirror reported up to 1,000 girls may have been abused since the 1980s

Saying her son was abused over a five-year period, she claimed his abusers were "giving him money, taking advantage of him, getting him drunk, giving him drugs".

She said: "I feel angry, upset - I want to go and kill them.

"There's no way anyone can say it's historic, because I know it's not.

"My son has been going through it and there are other people I know who are still going through it."

She said she had reported her son's experience to police.

In a statement, the West Mercia force said: "Although we have and continue to put significant time and effort with partners into preventing offences of child sexual exploitation, it is right to acknowledge that there will still, sadly, be cases where this is happening in our communities.

"Unfortunately, there are depraved offenders in towns and cities right across the country exploiting young people and along with our partner agencies, we are working tirelessly to do all we can to prevent this from happening."

Analysis: Midlands Correspondent Sima Kotecha

Telford has been at the heart of a media storm which has triggered a feeling of anger - confusion - and disgust among many of its residents.

Having spoken to dozens of people, the questions that keep coming up are - is child sexual exploitation worse here than in any other place in the country and if so, why has it taken so long to bring that into the spotlight?

Police officers and the local council say they're doing all they can to tackle the problem.

Image copyright Gavin Dickson
Image caption Seven men were jailed in 2012 after a police crackdown on CSE, known as Operation Chalice

New abuse claims followed a Sunday Mirror story which reported "groups of mainly Asian men" had been targeting girls in Telford.

The newspaper projected a figure of up to 1,000 victims since the 1980s, but Supt Tom Harding from West Mercia Police said numbers suggesting such scale were "sensationalised", adding police and authorities in Telford were working with approximately 46 victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

CSE in the town fell under national scrutiny in 2012 when seven men were jailed for their part in girls' abuse following West Mercia Police's Operation Chalice.

The convicted, Telford MP Lucy Allan said, were of Pakistani origin and the victims of white origin.

The abused boy's mother told the BBC her son was abused by "different white men" and the abuse was "going on in all races".

"It's not just Asian men who are doing it," she said. "It's white men, it's black men".

She added victims were also of different background types.

"The girls are white, Indian, black, there's even Pakistani girls".

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Media captionLucy Allan MP says 'many young girls' have come to her to share their experiences.

Ms Allan told Parliament on 13 March vulnerable white working class girls were being traded for sex "in a routine way".

She said after she spoke in the Commons, she had been "inundated" with reports of child grooming victims.

How to report CSE

If you're worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused you can contact the children's social care team at their local council. You can choose not to give your details.

You can report it online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP).

Or you can call the NSPCC 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 for expert advice and support.

If a child is at immediate risk call 999, or call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.

Children and young people can call Childline free on 0800 1111 where trained counsellors are available 24 hours a day, every day.

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