System failed child victims, says AM

A HIT squad could be brought in to tackle the “systematic failure” of Neath Port Talbot’s social services department. Helen Mary Jones, the AM for Llanelli, said the move should be considered following the case of Briton Ferry paedophile David Owens, who raped a girl and forced children to have sex together.

The council has launched a serious case review in relation to the 43-year-old, who was handed a life jail term and labelled a serious danger.

Swansea Crown Court heard how a friend of one of the victims alerted Neath Port Talbot’s social services department, but nothing was done.

Mrs Jones, a Plaid AM who sits on the Assembly’s children’s and young people committee, said special measures should be considered, depending on the outcome of the serious case review.
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She added: “We do not know yet what happened, but my gut instinct is that this is a ‘systematic failure’.”

Tony Clements, chairman of the Neath Port Talbot safeguarding children board, said: “The circumstances surrounding this case were highly complex and action was taken by a number of agencies, including social services.”