Telford’s MP has renewed her call for an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in the town, after it was estimated up to 1,000 children could have fallen victim to abusers there over a 40-year period.
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror gathered allegations of abuse in the Shropshire town, said to include cases involving girls as young as 11 who were drugged, beaten and raped.
Allegations reported to date back to the 1980s are said to have been mishandled by authorities, with many perpetrators going unpunished, while it is claimed similar abuse is continuing in the area.
Telford’s Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, has previously called for a Rotherham-style inquiry into the allegations and called the latest reports “extremely serious and shocking”.
“There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities,” she told the paper.
An estimate of the number of victims was calculated with the help of Professor Liz Kelly, from the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University, who reviewed the Mirror’s figures.
Dino Nocivelli, a specialist child abuse solicitor, told the Mirror: “These children were treated as sexual commodities by men who inflicted despicable acts of abuse. The survivors deserve an inquiry.
“They need to know how abuse took place for so long and why so many perpetrators have never been brought to justice.”
Seven men were jailed in 2013 following Operation Chalice, a police inquiry into child prostitution in the Telford area.
The paper says authorities were warned of the abuse a decade before Operation Chalice.
A spokesperson for Telford and Wrekin Council told the paper: “Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a vile, evil crime. It’s an issue right across the UK and has been for a long time.
“Telford will be covered by the national CSE review. We welcome this. All agencies continue to work very closely together and this remains our top priority.”