Rapist gets chance to see victims child

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-46368991

Sammy Woodhouse

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Sammy Woodhouse’s son was conceived when she was raped by Arshid Hussain

A child exploitation scandal victim has called for a law change amid claims a man who raped her has been invited to play a role in her son’s life.

Arshid Hussain, who was jailed for 35 years in 2016, was told by Rotherham Council he could seek visits from the child he fathered, The Times reported.

Sammy Woodhouse told Good Morning Britain she was devastated when she was informed at a court hearing.

Ms Woodhouse said Hussain had not made any application to see her son.

The Ministry of Justice said urgent efforts would be taken to “address the failings in this case”.

Ms Woodhouse said Hussain was “a danger to myself and to other children”, telling the ITV programme: “They didn’t tell me until I went to court.”

In a video posted on Twitter she urged the government “to change the law to ensure rapists can’t gain access to children conceived through rape”.

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Hussain, known as Mad Ash around Rotherham, was one of three brothers behind the grooming and sexual abuse of more than 50 girls, including Ms Woodhouse.

She was just 14 when she met him.

Ms Woodhouse, who waived her anonymity in an effort to help other victims, said she thought when Hussain was jailed she could then get on with her life and would never hear from him again.

She said she was told Hussain had parental rights but questioned why her rights, and those of others, had not been considered.

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South Yorkshire Police

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Arshid Hussain was convicted of grooming and sexually abusing young girls in Rotherham

Ms Woodhouse, who now speaks about child sexual exploitation and her experiences, is calling for changes to the 1989 Children’s Act, alongside Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh.

Although Hussain has not made any application, Ms Woodhouse said it was important to get the law changed to protect others.

“This is happening all over the country, and it needs to stop,” she added.

Very distressing incident

Ms Woodhouse said her son was supporting her and had given his permission for her to speak out.

In response, a Rotherham Council spokesman said while the authority could not disclose information relating to hearings in the Family Court “we do understand that the legal requirements can cause upset to those involved and so we welcome a debate”.

A Ministry of Justice statement said: “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.”

It added: “This is obviously a very distressing incident and the relevant departments and local authority will work urgently to understand and address the failings in this case.”

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