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Alleged victim of Rochdale grooming gangs still 'begging police for justice'

An alleged victim of Rochdale grooming gangs has told Sky News she is still "begging Greater Manchester Police for justice".

The adult woman said that grooming is still ongoing in the area and that the force and social services in the area are still "not accepting responsibility".

Her comments come as a new report into the much-criticised Operation Span, which investigated the Rochdale grooming allegations, found that girls were left "at the mercy" of gangs because of an "inadequate" response by police and council bosses.

Andrea, not her real name, said she was abused from the age of 11 until 15.

Her case is making its way through the legal system - as well as the case of a younger family member.

"I was taken advantage of. They used to get me drunk, give me drugs, make me do weird stuff to them - sexual favours - and on a couple of occasions, not just doing it to one of them, doing it to multiple men at one time. And on one occasion I was raped," she said.

The abuse happened while she was living in care. She started going missing, which she said the care system and police knew about, but "nothing happened".

Meetings were held with the police, a social worker and a school nurse. She said they labelled her a prostitute and put her in a secure unit for six and a half months.

"I was so scared and I thought 'what have I done wrong?' And I knew I'd not done anything.

"After 72 hours [in the secure unit] we had to come back to Manchester Family Court for a court hearing. At the time I had a legal guardian and she was sat in court agreeing that I was a prostitute and I should go to a secure unit," she said.

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"When I was young and I opened up to the police, and I was telling my social worker about the abuse I was going through, I thought something would have happened. And it didn't, all they would do was move me from one children's home to the other."

Andrea says dealing with Greater Manchester Police is "more emotionally draining" as an adult and she refuted the force's claim that improvements had been made.

"When I was a child, I couldn't understand why they were lying about me. But now, as an adult, I know what's right and what's wrong, and I know it's wrong.

"When they've said they understand what's gone on and they'll make things right from where they went wrong - I still feel like I'm begging Greater Manchester Police for justice."

Andrea believes the abuse is still ongoing in Rochdale but "it's changed".

"When I was a child, these men would do it in plain sight. They would turn up at a children's home, they preyed on vulnerable people in care because there was no parents for us to go running to.

"The police weren't doing anything about it. Social workers weren't doing anything about it. Now you'll find that they're doing it across social media."

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She claims a close family member has also been subjected to grooming - but that the police force is "silencing everyone".

"They don't want to hear what's going on. As soon as you're reporting it, you have to beg and beg and beg for them to help you. And they still don't want to help. They'll find any excuse."

Referring to a friend who died after allegedly being abused, Andrea said: "I'm lucky I've still got [my life]. I've got my kids and I work, I drive, I've got good opportunities still to make things right.

"But with the police not accepting responsibility and social services, there's no one to hold accountable, you can't let go of it."

Greater Manchester Police told Sky News they did not wish to comment on any of Andrea's allegations.