CALLS for an independent inquiry into the Bullfinch child abuse scandal and police and social services’ failings were growing last night.

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith led the charge, saying the Serious Case Review released yesterday – which did not name or blame any individuals within the police, social services, education or health services – was only based on the organisations’ own internal reviews.

He was backed by the mother of one of the victims and also Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld.

Mr Smith, whose constituency covers many of the areas where the abuse of the Bullfinch girls occurred, said the victims’ families were owed answers to questions the Serious Case Review did not address.

Our top stories

He asked the Government to set up an independent inquiry into “what went wrong and who made the mistakes which enabled this depraved exploitation of vulnerable girls to go on for so long”.

Mr Smith asked Education Secretary Nicky Morgan: “Does the Secretary of State agree that the victims who so bravely testified, the 370 other children identified at risk, their families and the public, horrified that these crimes were allowed to continue unchecked for so many years, are owed answers to crucial questions which this Serious Care Review could not address?

“How was it that there was a culture in the county council and police whereby such serious incidents were not escalated to senior officers?”

And he said he wanted to know how a “professional tolerance of underage sexual activity” developed which “contributed to a failure to stop abuse”.

He said: “Who takes responsibility for the catastrophic failings?

“Isn’t it the case that the SCR is based largely on the evidence of the internal management reviews undertaken by the agencies concerned?

Should these not be subjected to wider independent scrutiny?”

In her submission to the SCR, the mother of a victim called ‘Girl 3’ during the trial said: “We are disappointed that this is not an independent inquiry, but a largely internal review where services are left to examine themselves.”

Speaking yesterday, she told the Oxford Mail: “Yes I would support an inquiry, with the right terms of reference.

“Because what we feel is, if [Oxfordshire social services] don’t really look at what actually happened, then the amount they can change is quite small.

“They haven’t really accepted what it was like to stand in our shoes, and what it actually felt like for all these years.”

She added that her daughter, who was 13 when her abuse started, also supported an independent inquiry.

Mr Stansfeld said: “I asked for an inquiry after the trial [in 2013] and ministers at that stage didn’t want to do one.

“I think they are coming round to the view that they should have done one, I hope so.”

Council 'wilfully neglected her', says victim's mum.

THE mum of one of the victims of the Operation Bullfinch grooming gang said after the Serious Case Review was published: “They still haven’t got it.”

Speaking following the 114-page document’s publication yesterday the mother of Girl 3 told the Oxford Mail that Oxfordshire County Council had still not taken full responsibility for what happened.

Her daughter was 13 when the abuse started – over three years she was a victim of rape, conspiracy to rape, child prostitution, and was trafficked around the country for sexual exploitation.

Girl 3’s adopted mother told the trial at the Old Bailey in 2013 that she reported her daughter missing about 80 times.

She said: “They haven’t grasped how badly the individual victims were treated by social services.

“They only now seem able to see this through the grooming lens and they are saying we didn’t know about grooming.

“I accept that they didn’t understand grooming back then.

“But they did know that there were individual girls who were in great danger.

And it is not really relevant whether they were connected through a gang. Each girl was extremely vulnerable and was being abused and exploited.

“They failed to respond to the needs of each girl and there was wilful neglect.

“They were told, firstly by me, time and time again, that my daughter was being exploited. Social services knew they were being trafficked and exploited, and they wilfully neglected it.”