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Pak-origin serial rapist sent to jail can meet survivor’s child, says court

Sammy Woodhouse, the rape survivor, waived her anonymity on Wednesday to say she is devastated to learn that the Rotherham Council told Hussain that he could seek access to the child he fathered, terming him “a danger to myself and to other children”.

world Updated: Nov 29, 2018 10:14 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Pakistan,Serial rapist
Arshid Hussain, one of three brothers who groomed and raped 15 teenage girls, also known as ‘Mad Ash’, was convicted in 2016.(Representative image)

A Pakistan-origin man jailed for 35 years as part of a major rape scandal in the UK’s Yorkshire has been told he could seek access to the child born to the survivor, who was a minor when he abused her, setting off a major row and demands for a change in the law.

Arshid Hussain, one of three brothers who groomed and raped 15 teenage girls, also known as ‘Mad Ash’, was convicted in 2016. The three were described in court as a “pack of animals”; their uncle, Qurban Ali, was also jailed.

Sammy Woodhouse, the rape survivor, waived her anonymity on Wednesday to say she is devastated to learn that the Rotherham Council told Hussain that he could seek access to the child he fathered, terming him “a danger to myself and to other children”.

“We’re constantly being re-victimised and as a rape victim I’m constantly told ‘well actually, he’s got his human rights’. What about my human rights? What about other people’s human rights and our children and our right to constantly have to keep our children safe?” she told the BBC.

Woodhouse, who now speaks about child sexual exploitation and her experiences, called for changes to the 1989 children’s act to protect others. She added that her son was supporting her and had given his permission for her to speak out.

The ministry of justice said it was “obviously a very distressing incident” and “the relevant departments and local authority will work urgently to understand and address the failings in this case.”

“Local authorities can apply to courts to request permission not to notify parents without parental responsibility about care proceedings, and courts should consider the potential harm to the child and mother when making this decision,” the ministry said in a statement.

Sajid Javid, the UK’s Pakistan-origin home secretary, has been severely critical of the fact that many men figuring in such rape scandals are also of Pakistan origin, warning earlier this year that he would not hesitate to act against them.

Addressing the Conservative Party’s conference in October, he drew much applause when he addressed the issue of Pakistan-origin men convicted of grooming and gang-related offences.

“I will not let cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem and doing something about it,” Javid said.

“It is a statement of fact – a fact which both saddens and angers me – that most of the men in recent high profile gang convictions have had Pakistani heritage. This behaviour is a disgrace to that heritage. So I have instructed my officials to look into this unflinchingly”.

If evidence suggests that “certain cultural factors” drive such crime, Javid said he would not hesitate to act against the Pakistan-origin men.

”I’m in a position to deal with this confidently – and I will. Those who break the law undermine the foundations of our home.”

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 09:27 IST