Social services has apologised to a woman over sex abuse claims
SOCIAL services has apologised to a woman for not taking more seriously allegations of sex abuse she made against her stepfather 23 years ago.
Officials concede as a result of them not acting strongly enough other children in the man’s care had not been protected from abuse “for all those years”.
They said procedures were correctly followed by the council at the time but understanding of sexual abuse in families had since increased, with social workers now keeping more of an open mind on allegations.
But the 41-year-old Derby woman said an apology cannot undo the damage.
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She claims her stepfather raped and sexually abused at least four children in his care, including herself, over a 37-year period.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “In the media, time and time again, you hear apologies made and that lessons have been learned. But it’s not good enough. Lives are ruined.
“I cannot really describe how I feel. I just feel let down.”
The woman said she was not seeking compensation, but wanted a criminal case against her stepfather, which was dropped last year, to be reopened.
A civil case found that, on the balance of probability, he had committed the abuse.
The woman has asked Derby South MP Margaret Beckett to look into her case.
The letter from Derby children and young people’s department concludes: “I can only apologise to you again that for all those years your siblings were not protected from abuse and that it took a disclosure from another young woman to finally bring about some justice for you and the protection that other children in your step-father’s care needed.”