A voice for the over­looked

Lancashire Life - - Society - WORDS: Su­san Grf­fin

For­mer detective Mag­gie Oliver ex­posed flaws in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into child abuse in Rochdale. Now she’s ded­i­cated to help­ing sur­vivors

There are mo­ments when Mag­gie Oliver ad­mits she can’t quite be­lieve her life has panned out the way it has. ‘I’m shocked and some­times it’s com­pletely over­whelm­ing,’ says the Greater Manch­ester po­lice de­tec­tive­turned-whis­tle blower who took on the es­tab­lish­ment in or­der to re­veal the flaws she’d wit­nessed dur­ing the Rochdale sex gang in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Not only had au­thor­i­ties turned a blind eye to the bru­tal re­al­ity of what was hap­pen­ing, but they’d re­peat­edly failed the young vic­tims of abuse. These girls, notes Mag­gie, were deemed ‘an un­der­class’, chil­dren who were mak­ing ‘lifestyle choices’ and there­fore not wor­thy of the pro­tec­tion they were due.

‘I wanted to give a voice to the kids who’d been failed be­cause I’m far more dif­fi­cult to brush off and ig­nore than the kids who’d been writ­ten off. I’m an ed­u­cated woman, I have a de­gree, I was a po­lice of­fi­cer and I have a voice that will be heard,’ says Mag­gie whose book Sur­vivors: One Brave Detective’s Bat­tle to Ex­pose the Rochdale Child Abuse Scan­dal

Mag­gie Oliver and her fam­ily

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