Teenager placed in secure accommodation 'to protect her from sex abuse'

A judge in the family court said he could not target the men thought to be exploiting the teenager Credit: PA

A judge has ruled a teenage girl from Newcastle should be placed in secure accommodation, because she is thought to have been sexually exploited by Asian men.

Judge Simon Wood said the 17-year-old girl in care had been a "very significant victim of child sexual exploitation".

He said a "pattern" had emerged of her absconding and being found "in thecompany of inappropriate, much older Asian males".

He said one man believed to have been with her had recently been charged with more than 20 offences linked to child sexual exploitation.

His decision to allow the youngster to be placed in secure accommodation comes months after two High Court judges said it was fairer to target perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, not victims.

Judge Wood said he had considered targeting the men who were exploiting the teenager, but had concluded that he was not in a position to take such an approach.

He said he had been giving "chilling evidence" about the girl from a seniordetective.

The detective had "impressed" on him that as long as the teenager was insecure accommodation she was "safe" and "could not be raped or worse".

And local authority social services staff had echoed those concerns.