Published Thursday, 09 January 2014
Neither the victim nor her abuser can be named for legal reasons. (© UTV)
The girl had been a resident in a children's home and was then moved to secure accommodation, before somehow appearing to simply "fall off the radar".
She was subjected to prolonged and extremely violent sexual abuse, described by a Crown Court judge as "depraved and humiliating".
The 44-year-old man responsible, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was said to have preyed on the young girl and treated her as his own "personal plaything".
He has now been jailed for 12 years.
This young girl just disappeared off the radar.
Helena Bracken, Nexus Institute
The court heard that the reality was that "nobody else bothered with her" and questions are being asked regarding how the appalling situation arose in the first place.
"How was this young woman able to simply fall out of the system, leave secure accommodation and effectively be forced to live with the perpetrator for such a long period of time and with no intervention?" Maeve McLaughlin, chair of Stormont's Health and Social Services Committee, asked.
The Nexus Institute, which offers supports to victims and survivors of sexual abuse, has branded the case one of the worst it has ever come across.
"I have been with Nexus 14 years now and I have to say, from my heart, this is one of the worst cases that I have ever heard - it is truly, truly disturbing," Helena Bracken said.
"Maybe it's the powers-that-be that need to come in and radically overhaul the system."
© UTV News