Girl abused after 'secure care' move

Published Thursday, 09 January 2014
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Calls have been made for more action to protect vulnerable children in the care system, after a Londonderry man was jailed for abusing a teenager who had been placed in secure accommodation.

Girl abused after 'secure care' move
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
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3 Comments
marie in Co.Derry wrote (344 days ago):
I think this story is awful its so sad that these things happen on a day to day basis.I think it is very important for the public to see and hear what goes on behide close doors.Reagarding the conviction this man got I think its not fair at all and the law needs to really look at this. This man only got 12 years what about that girl she will suffer the rest off her life forever and never be the same again.Regarding being let down by the care system sure that is nothing new either social services have a lot to answer for the courts should also be looking at them and questioning how this has happened but sure that will never happen.Stuart regarding your comment you really need too get a grip does it really matter what the headline says look at the bigger picture, I think the headline was to point out the girl was abused and let down badly by the care system if that's all your worried about is a headline then you don't have a heart. Take it you work for social services. Headlines are there for you to take what u want from them and u are not really looking at the bigger picture. I just hope now this girl gets the help and support she deserves and he rots in jail.
sacha in Dundrum wrote (344 days ago):
only 12 years? ????
Stuart in Bangor wrote (344 days ago):
A misleading/unhelpful headline. The article outlines how the poor victim was abused after leaving secure accommodation, your headline conveys the impression she was abused while in care.
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