Oldham’s Child Sexual Exploitation report to be released Monday – reaction

Oldham Liberal Democrats have said that due care must be taken with responses to the independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Oldham, to be released on Monday, and it “must be viewed in the knowledge of the terrible and lasting impact CSE has had on the lives of many of this borough’s most vulnerable young people”. 

The report is being released with a background of serial failings of the senior management of Greater Manchester Police, including the botched introduction and inadequacies of the now-abandoned iOPS computer system, and the force being placed into special measures.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Sam Al-Hamdani said: “People must know that Oldham Council, the police, and the services that they rely on have changed, and will continue to change, so that others will not have to go through what they did.

Sam Al-Hamdani at the Civic Centre

“When the report is released, we will need to take the time to fully understand its implications. Anything else would be a flippant response. The people who are most important in this whole process are the survivors of abuse and exploitation, and we must ensure first and foremost that any action now taken by the Council, the Police and our partner agencies makes a difference for them.”

While the inquiry has been progressing, the Liberal Democrats have been pursuing a sizable number of initiatives to reduce child sexual exploitation, tackle domestic violence, and aid the detection and apprehension of sexual predators and violent offenders.

Group Leader Howard Sykes has pursued a change of legislation, now going through Parliament, to disbar sex offenders from standing as councillors or holding public office. He also brought  a motion to Council supporting  children’s charity, the NSPCC’s Closing the Loophole campaign, and has since raised this issue in Parliament and in correspondence with the new Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Deputy Leader Chris Gloster also worked with the charity Paladin to highlight the need for a new national  register identifying those offenders who are stalking or commit domestic violence to safeguard victims and aid the Police in tracking and apprehending them, and Sam Al-Hamdani brought a motion to Council calling for  street harassment to be criminalised. 

Councillor Al-Hamdani also wrote to the Council’s Chief Executive in 2019 to ask for advanced training to combat CSE, which eventually led to the first course of its kind in the UK being delivered by Barnardo’s. The group also got a promise from the Council to implement findings from the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).

He added: “We did not wait for the report to come in to take action, and have been working hard to bring forward as much as we could to change the Council’s approach to CSE, and to address the failings of the management of GMP and it’s appalling iOPS system.

“Abuse and exploitation take many forms. We must address each of them honestly, and recognise that at the heart of this is a failure to properly get to grips with violence and misogyny.”

Below is a list of recent work from the Liberal Democrats in Oldham around domestic violence and CSE:

Independent investigation must be given all the time it needs, and all the additional support it can get (16/03/22)

Responding to the motion on the CSE report to Oldham Council last night [16/03/22], Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “Everyone must always put the needs of survivors first, and it is important to recognise that independent experts in this area are in favour of the extension of the investigation. 


Liberal Democrats demand opportunity to hold those responsible to account on CSE report (09/02/22)

Oldham’s people deserve the chance to question those responsible for its policing and care services at a Council meeting covering the independent investigation into CSE, say Oldham’s Liberal Democrats.  


Final national reports into child sex abuse released in time to be included in Oldham joint workshop (13/01/22)

The final two reports of the Home Office-sponsored Independent Investigation into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) are due to be released on February 1 (Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks) and March 1 (Residential Schools). 


Law Commission backs street harassment campaign (14/12/21)

The national body which reviews laws has recommended that public street harassment (PSH) should be made a specific crime, a great step forward for the campaign, says local councillor and supporter Sam Al-Hamdani.


Andy Burnham and GMP fail to provide matched funding for child safeguarding (03/12/21)  

A year after the child and safeguarding teams in all 10 areas of Greater Manchester wrote to highlight the failure of Greater Manchester Police and the GM Mayor to provide equitable funding for child safeguarding across the whole of the region, there has been no change to the funding made.


Further delays to CSE report ‘a breakdown of trust’ (29/11/21)

The news that the independent report into child sex exploitation (CSE) in Oldham has been delayed until the new year is “further undermining the trust that needs to be rebuilt” according to Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani.


Council must keep its promise to implement national recommendations on abuse (10/11/21)

Oldham Council are being held to account on their promise to implement any relevant findings of the Home-Office sponsored Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) by Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani.


Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader calls on government to close sex offenders’ loophole (09/11/21)

Two years on from the Oldham Liberal Democrats calling for the law to be changed to make illegal sexual contact between persons in ‘positions of trust’ and young adults in their care, Group Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE has written to the Deputy Prime Minister calling for long-overdue action.


Liberal Democrats welcome second reading of new bill to bar sex offenders from public office

Oldham Liberal Democrats have welcomed the second reading in Parliament (22 October 2021) of a new bill which would bar sexual offenders from seeking, or remaining in, elected public office.


Community approach can benefit survivors in Oldham (11/06/21)

After the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) produced its latest report, local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has called on the Council to put its recommendations – and lessons from around the country – into practice in Oldham.


Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader welcomes promise of Council debate on CSE review (11/06/21)

The Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed the commitment made by the Leader of Oldham Council to make ‘proper time (available) for consideration by councillors’ of the long-awaited report by the review team into historic child sexual exploitation issues at a meeting of the Full Council.


Sykes appeals to Lord Chancellor over lenient magistrate court sentence (10/06/21)

Councillor Howard Sykes, MBE, Leader of the Real Opposition and the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, has written to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland MP, seeking a change in the law after receiving a frustrating letter denying him a review of an unduly lenient sentence.


Liberal Democrats request debate on Child Sexual Exploitation review at July Council (08/06/21)

The Liberal Democrats want to see the promised report from the review on historic allegations of child sexual exploitation to be published in advance of the 14 July meeting of the Full Council and for time to be set aside to debate the report at the meeting.


Conservatives vote to remove strip domestic violence register from landmark Bill (19/04/21)

The Conservative Government has chosen to vote down legislation establishing a register of serial and serious perpetrators of domestic abuse and stalking.


Liberal Democrats welcome Lords amendment on national stalking register (29/03/21)

Oldham’s Liberal Democrats have welcomed recent news that the Domestic Abuse Bill passing through Parliament will now contain a commitment to establish a national offenders’ register for those convicted of stalking or domestic violence after the House of Lords amended the legislation.


Sykes seeks review of suspended sentence handed out to Shaw sexual offender (17/03/21)

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Shaw Ward and Leader of the Opposition on Oldham Council, has written to the Attorney General, The Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP, seeking an urgent review of the suspended prison sentence handed down by Tameside Magistrates Court last week to Javed Miah from Shaw.


Pressure tells as Government agrees changes to Domestic Abuse Bill on intimate image threats (02/03/21)

After tens of thousands of supporters contacted the Government in support of a change to the Domestic Abuse Bill, to outlaw threats to share intimate images, the Conservatives have agreed that it should form part of the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill. 


Liberal Democrat Leader appeals to Home Secretary over DBS checks for Councillors (17/02/21)

The Oldham Liberal Democrats have appealed to the Home Secretary to change the law to make it lawful and easier for local authorities to conduct enhanced criminal records checks (now called DBS checks) on local councillors.


New Government strategy on tackling child sex abuse welcome – but we need action not just talk (27/01/21)

The Home Office’s new Tackling Child Sex Abuse Strategy could help put the UK ahead of the world in tackling abuse, but a Government which is big on promises and poor on delivery must not miss this opportunity, says Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani.


Council staff can be ‘eyes and ears’ in ongoing fight against child sex abuse (07/01/21)

Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Councillors want Oldham Council staff to be trained to become ‘eyes and ears’ in the community to help detect instances of child sexual exploitation.


Liberal Democrats seek National Stalking and Domestic Violence Register to catch offenders (11/12/20)

Oldham’s Liberal Democrats believe that proposed legislation currently going through Parliament would be much more effective if it included a commitment to establish an offenders’ register for those convicted of stalking or domestic violence.


Sykes reassured by police commitment over child sexual exploitation review (07/12/20)

In advance of the publication of an independent review into allegations of historic child sexual exploitation in Oldham, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, wrote recently to Greater Manchester Police seeking assurances that they ‘will act without fear or favour to reassure the public and bring all offenders to justice’.


Retain Rail to Refuge to save women from abusive relationships, says Liberal Democrat Leader (30/11/20)

Marking the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Oldham Liberal Democrats have written to government ministers asking for the Rail to Refuge scheme, which supplies free train tickets to enable women to flee domestic violence, to be made permanent.


Liberal Democrats ensure Oldham Council will adopt recommendations of national Home Office-sponsored review into abuse (23/11/20)

Following the last meeting of Oldham Council (11 Nov), the Liberal Democrats have received confirmation that the Council will be taking the recommendations of the Independent Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and applying them to Oldham Council and its Safeguarding.


Oldham leading the way on combatting street harassment (18/11/20)

When Oldham Borough Council voted to pass the Liberal Democrat motion against street harassment this week, it became the first Council in the country to sign up to support the Our Streets Now campaign to combat public sexual harassment by making it a specific crime, and to introduce education in schools to combat the problem.


Conservative Government still won’t commit to disbar sex offenders from public office (04/11/20)

Two years after the Conservative Government promised to disbar sex offenders from public office, the government has still not introduced the necessary legislation and in a recent response to a question from a Liberal Democrat peer in Parliament they have given no promise to do so soon.


Liberal Democrats want to make street harassment a crime (30/10/20)

Oldham Council’s Liberal Democrats want to see street harassment of women and girls made a crime, as it is in Portugal, Belgium and France.


Leader welcomes promised update on child sexual exploitation investigation at next Council meeting (23/10/20)

A report updating Councillors and the public on the progress made by the investigation team into historic allegations of child sexual exploitation in the Borough will be included in the agenda papers for the next full meeting of Oldham Council (4 November 2020).


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