'I begged for help': Mother of child abuse victim reveals 'despicable' police failings

22 June 2022, 17:03

By Fiona Jones

The mother of a child abuse victim reveals the "despicable" way in which the police failed her daughter, leaving her "an absolutely physical wreck" and feeling "like the criminal."

Leanne was prompted to tell her story after a report into the Rotherham child abuse scandal revealed around 1,400 girls were failed by police.

The report revealed that, in one instance, the father of a 15-year-old suspected rape victim was told by an officer it would "teach her a lesson".

Caller Leanne from Caenarfon was living in Runcorn three years ago when her family suffered its own failing by police; when her daughter was 14 years old, Leanne noticed her mental health had started to worsen and her behaviour was becoming "erratic."

She discovered in an extremely graphic way that her daughter had become a runner for a county lines gang. Runners within county lines are exploited children who are manipulated into moving either money or drugs for dealers - and, due to their age, remain under the radar of law enforcement.

Leanne told Shelagh that one day a video message was sent through to her: "It was a video of my daughter, she was unconscious, she was being dragged across the floor, and this video had been sent to us in retaliation because she'd refused to do any more running for them."

"At one point, she had been raped whilst unconscious, she'd been locked in a flat. They had locked her from the outside and took her shoes and her phone so that she couldn't run and that she couldn't call anyone."

However when Leanne notified the police, they came along with a rape crisis team; however, before getting access to any instant help, her daughter was "forced to answer questions by the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) about the people in the county lines group."

Leanne continued, "By the time they finished with her, her mental health was that bad that she felt not like the victim but like the criminal...she was an absolute physical wreck."

The consequence of that, continued Leanne, is her daughter never dealt with the trauma or felt able to seek out anyone more official "as she felt they wouldn't believe her." She even ran away to Scotland "just to get away from these people".

Now, Leanne's daughter is miles away so she cannot be found and Leanne has moved separately to Wales.

"All the police were interested in were getting information out of my daughter about how many drugs were there, how much money was there, who were these people, where did they live," Leanne said, adding that she "begged" the authorities to help her daughter.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call The National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999

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