Accused sexual abuser placed in same home as families where he assaulted boy

Three serious case reviews have today been published. File photo posed by model. Getty Images

Three serious case reviews have today been published. File photo posed by model. Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A man who was arrested for sexual abuse on a child was placed in the same home as young families where he then sexually assaulted a boy.

Despite Norfolk County Council's children's services department knowing about the arrest, they did not tell the housing authority for two weeks. And in those two weeks the man went on to abuse another boy in the home in north Norfolk.

A litany of failings by the children's services department has been exposed in an investigation into the case, published on Wednesday.

Norfolk Safeguarding Children's Board, which investigated what went wrong, has come up with recommendations for the department and the police.

The 20-year-old man, who had been under the care of Norfolk County Council, was put in the same accommodation as families in May 2016, despite being on bail for abusing an 11-year-old boy in December 2015.

Under his bail conditions he was not meant to be left alone with children.

But nobody told North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) who housed him that.

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Even when children's services found out he was living in a home with children they did not tell NNDC for another two weeks.

And it was in those two weeks when he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy.

Just four weeks before he was put in the home, police had graded him as a 'medium' risk for child sexual exploitation.

Earlier that year he was also refused accommodation by a housing agency because of the allegations of abuse against him.

The abuser was in touch with children's services' leaving care team.

But his personal advisor on that team wrote in November 2015 that the man did not pose a risk to younger men. The next month he abused the 11-year-old boy.

The personal advisor had been given no training in sexual behaviour risk management, the report found.

But he did know of the man's bail conditions to not be left alone with children.

The serious case review also found the abuse should have been referred to something called the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) so councils and other services in Norfolk would know about the case. But it was not.

The investigator found there was a 'missed opportunity' to assess his risk.

In June 2016, police found out he was living in the home with families and children.

They told children's services who should have told NNDC.

But the investigation report said: 'Unfortunately, due to a set of mistaken assumptions by both the police and Norfolk children's services, each agency thought that the other was taking primary responsibility with the housing agency for moving.'

No one from children's services told NNDC for another two weeks - June 24 - and in that time, between June 16 and 19, he carried out the abuse.

The man was jailed in May 2017 for abusing the 11 year old and 14 year old boys.

Sara Tough, director of Norfolk children's services, said they 'did not act quickly or decisively enough'. 'We are sorry to those affected,' she added.

Ms Tough said children's services had 'completely transformed' over the last two years.

The department is currently rated 'requires improvement' by Ofsted.

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