Mother's plea for 'raped' girl: Decision over future of child delayed

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The Independent Online
THE MOTHER of an 11-year- old girl allegedly raped while in a local authority children's home appealed yesterday for her daughter to be returned to her.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken into care almost two years ago after being sexually molested by her father, who is now serving a four-year sentence for the offence. Two of her three brothers are in the same children's home.

Yesterday a Children's Hearing (a legal panel of lay members directed by a legal expert) in Ayr, Strathclyde, decided to delay a decision for three weeks for an independent assessment.

The panel was told that the mother knew her husband was abusing her but took no action. Also, when she was at home, the girl had had to use a bucket as a toilet in her locked bedroom.

The girl told the panel that a 15-year-old boy - who has since been removed from the home - had sexual intercourse with her in a nearby field last month. Police were investigating this.

Peter Lockhart, a lawyer acting for the mother, said that when the girl arrived at the home last year she recognised someone who had previously interfered with her. She also said she was sexually abused while she was in care last October.

It was against this background that the mother was asking that her daughter should live at home. Mr Lockhart said: 'The issue here is where is the girl going to be safe. What is clear to me is, it seems, that with the best will in the world, nobody can guarantee that this will not happen again.'

He pointed out that while the mother, social workers and staff from the children's home were represented at the hearing, no one was representing the child.

The mother's social worker said there were still issues over what had happened in the family to be tackled - particularly allegations an older step-brother of the girl had also abused his sister, which he denies. She said: 'My concern would be that the girl has established relationships in the children's unit.'

The girl said that she would like to go to her mother.

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