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Police and social services criticised for victim blaming

A review into the sexual abuse of children and young people in Oxford has found that police and social services failed to take reports of abuse seriously enough, and demonstrated through their language to the families and in their official records a clear lack of understanding of the abuse.

The review found that police described the girls as "getting themselves into trouble". Other examples of victim blaming cited by the report include:

She is a streetwise girl who is willful. She deliberately puts herself at risk as she goes off with older men that are strangers.

She is believed to be prostituting herself, to pay for drugs.

– Bullfinch Serious Case Review

Parents told the review their concerns were frequently not taken into account - and that they were caught between a difficult, determined child and police and social services who would not take their concerns about her sexual expliotation seriously. The parents tole the view:

I keep emphasising, she is a minor.

The police said she didn't appear in danger, they said she was happy to be there, and refused to tell me where she was.

They threatened to kill me and behead my baby's daughter.

One manager said 'she's streetwise and loves it.'

– Family of abuse victims, to the Bullfinch Serious Case review

Review finds police failed groomed child sex abuse victims

A damning report into the sexual abuse of children in the Oxford area has found that police failed to properly investigate a number of sex attacks against children, whilst social workers appeared to "accept" that young people in their care were having sexual relationships with adults. The report said victim blaming contributed to the failures of care.

The language used by professionals was one which saw the girls as the source not the victims of their extreme behaviour, and they received much less sympathy as a result.

They were often in care for their own protection, and frequent episodes of going missing were again put in the context of them being extremely difficult children.

A professional tolerance of knowning young teenagers where having sex with adults seems to have developed.

– Bullfinch Serious Case Review

Police failed to properly investigate or record the abuse as crimes. The victims' lack of cooperation and the attitudes of the victims "sometimes led to crimes against them not being recorded as such", the report said.

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Police: 370 girls abused in Oxford over past 15 years

An investigation into suspected serious sexual offences against a number of children and young people has found that 370 girls were abused by gangs over a 15 year period.

Operation Bullfinch estimate 370 girls were abused over a 15 year period. Credit: Operation Bullfinch.

In 2013 seven men were jailed for 95 years after being found guilty of a number of offences including rape, facilitating child prostitution, and trafficking against six young people.

Today's report is a join serious case review by Thames Valley Police and Oxford Council Social Services into sex crimes against children and young people in Oxford, and how local authorities reacted to the abuse.

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Immigration detention practices 'ineffective and unjust'

The UK's current immigration detention practices are "expensive, ineffective and unjust", according to the head of a government panel investigating the treatment of foreign detainees.

MP Sarah Teather made her comments on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on refugees and migration (APPG) after the group produced a report which suggests Home Office standard practices fall well short of the government's policy to use detention as a last resort.

The group made suggestions on how to improve Britain's immigration detention system including:

  • Capping the immigration detention period to 28 days
  • Getting the UK government to look at alternatives to detention including allowing individuals to live in the community
  • Making it a policy not to detain women who are victims of rape and sexual violence, or who are pregnant, for immigration purposes
  • Improving screening processes to ensure that victims of trafficking are not detained

Body parts found in search for Becky Watts

Body parts have been found in the search for missing teenager Becky Watts, police say.

The teenager has been missing since February 19.

Police said they received new information late last night that led officers to a property at Barton Court in the Barton Hill area of Bristol

"The information suggested that Becky's body had been cut up and a search at the new location resulted in the discovery of body parts," Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour said.

Three men and two women have been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender as a result of the find.

Two people arrested on suspicion of murder remain in custody.

Becky, 16, had been missing since vanishing from her home in Bristol on February 19.

The teenager's family had been informed of the "devastating" news, Mr Courtier said.

Nemtsov became an enemy for 'speaking the truth'

Murdered Russian politician Boris Nemtsov became an enemy for many in the country because he "spoke the truth", former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasynov said.

Hundreds of people have gathered at the Sakharov Centre museum to pay their respects to the 55-year-old Kremlin critic, who is lying in state for four hours before being transported for burial.

Mourners pay their respects around the coffin of murdered politician Boris Nemtsov Credit: Reuters

Mr Kasyanov spoke of his disbelief at the murder of his friend and former colleague.

He explained, he discovered the problems, gave arguments, and a lot of people didn't like him. He practically became an enemy for many people.

He became an enemy because he spoke the truth, but many people don't want the truth. They don't like it - not just simply don't like it, but many of them are ready to do what they have done. They are ready for murder, for murder near the Kremlin walls, in the centre of Moscow. Who could have imagined it just three days ago?

– Mikhail Kasyanov, former Russian Prime Minister
People queue to see the coffin of Boris Nemtsov Credit: Reuters
A visitor holds flowers and a copy of Nemtsov-authored book 'Confessions of the Rebel' Credit: Reuters

Becky Watts: 'Significant development' in search

Police say there has been a "significant development" in the search for missing 16-year-old Becky Watts.

Becky Watts has been missing since February 19. Credit: Police handout

Avon and Somerset Police said they will give more details later on the development, which happened last night.

A man, 28, and woman, 21, remain in custody on suspicion of the teenager's murder.

Becky has been missing since leaving her home in St George, Bristol on the morning of February 19.

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