In 1962, when Cambridge House in Rochdale was opened to give young men a clean safe place to stay, Cyril Smith was 34, already an important man in the local community, and he seems to have regarded it as his private pleasure centre. The hostel ran from 1962 to 1965, Cyril Smith had keys and could come and go at any time, and was responsible for bringing in several boys to live there who’d been in difficult home situations, often then to work for the local authority, so that Smith would have control both over their jobs and over their home. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Rochdale
Over 66,000 women in the UK have already undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and more than 24,000 girls are at risk. FGM is a very British problem. Despite increased activities around FGM recently, it is not enough – we are still failing to stop the abuse.
[The petition has reached 100,000 signatures – 100,412 as of Sunday 26th January – and is therefore eligible for debate by the House of Commons. Important that if FGM is debated in the Commons it does not descend into a farago of Islamophobia: real solutions needed.]
The Guardian is running a consultation on how to eradicate FGM forever: closes 8th January.
In 2011, the Tory/LibDem government cut the funding for the only Whitehall post devoted to work preventing women and girls from the UK being subjected to FGM.
“This is a real step backwards,” said Diana Nammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. “We feel it speaks about a real lack of commitment from the government and a marginalisation of this hugely important issue The new guidelines were an important step forward but efforts are now needed to ensure that they are actually read and acted on, and the government should also be working to change attitudes towards FGM within communities.
“Without a dedicated person in government to drive efforts forward, it’s hard to see how this will happen. The coordinator was a link between all the organisations working in this area and now that’s been lost.”
Yesterday, I babysat my nephew for a few hours. When I arrived, he was in tears. He had woken up in a strange place (his parents are visiting his grandparents): his mother wasn’t there: he’d wet his nappy: and he was hungry. Because he’s three, he responded to this concatenation of awful circumstances by sobbing, loudly and non-stop, while I picked him up, washed him, changed him, collected his picnic tea, and pointed out to him that we were now going for a walk to the park and quite possibly a bus ride and then he would see his mother. He’d stopped sobbing by the time we got to the front door, and before we had gone five minutes down the road to the park, he was skipping.
I mention this because we don’t treat children exactly like adults. Had I come across an adult in such misery, I would not have treated him as I treated my small nephew: I was pretty sure I knew what was making him miserable, and the best thing to do seemed to be to take away the causes of his misery even if he was sobbing as I did it.
The origins of BACA are recent, Mopar says. The incident that kicked it off took place in Utah, circa 1995. A child psychologist and clinical play therapist, whose ride name is Chief because he is a Native American, came across the case of an abused boy who was so traumatized he refused to leave his house. Chief made a house call to see what was going on with the child. He soon discovered that the only thing that piqued the boy’s interest was when Chief mentioned his bike. Then his eyes lit up.
Knowing he was on the right track to help this child, Chief gathered together his friends from the local Harley Owners Group and the next Saturday, 27 HOGs descended on the boy’s home. Looking out the window, the child was in awe and, for the first time in weeks, he ventured outside to see the bikes.
It wasn’t long before the boy was outside playing and riding his skateboard all over the neighborhood. It was an amazing and rapid transformation and a new tool in the recovery kit. BACA was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization the next year.
Arrested for being a public nuisance outside a takeaway shop, the 15-year-old blamed her behaviour – screaming and bashing the counter – on the systemic abuse she had suffered at the hands of two men inside. During six hours of videotaped testimony she went on to say how she’d been lured in by the men with gifts – drinks and a phone card or maybe something to eat – and made to feel “pretty” before eventually being asked to “pay for” the vodka with sex. She even handed over underwear spotted with the 59-year-old accused’s DNA.
Nine months later, in August 2009, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge the two men as the girl would make an “unreliable witness” and the lawyer doubted any jury would believe her.
Three-quarters of the time, when sexual offences against children are reported to the police, the adult alleged to have committed the offence will not go to trial. According to NSPCC research, a third of children who are sexually abused “do not tell anyone at all about it, let alone report it to the police.”
The teenager who screamed and yelled and told the police this year saw her evidence – believed at last – form a central part of the case against the gang of nine men found guilty of raping and trafficking children.
As a white feminist, I feel like Fleet Street Fox and Julian Norman: this is about adult men raping and abusing girls, and race doesn’t enter into it.