Britons enraged after convicted rapist offered parental rights to victim’s child
Calls for justice continue to grow louder in England after it was learned a convicted rapist was offered a chance for parental rights to the child of one of his victims.
Sammy Woodhouse claims that after rebuilding her life, she was “made to relive the trauma again last year when the courts said my abuser could seek visits with my son.”
Woodhouse is an English author, award-winning speaker and advocate for victims of child abuse. Her book details her experience as a whistleblower who helped put a stop to a child grooming, sex and trafficking operation.
Woodhouse has also spent years raising a child who was the product of a sexual assault she suffered in 2006. Her abuser, Arshid Hussain, is currently serving 35 years in prison for 23 child sex offences, according to The Times.
The media outlet claims it did not identify the victim when it first reported the story to “protect the child.” However, Woodhouse dropped her anonymity “to help others” when an online petition was started.
“I want to talk to you about the front page of The Times newspaper,” Woodhouse said in a Twitter video. “This story is actually about myself, about my son, about the man that raped me and about the fact that Rotherham Council have offered him to apply for parental rights over my child even though [it was] proven in a court of law — that [he] was sentenced to 35 years — that he was a danger to myself and to other children.”
The victims’ commissioner for England and Wales has called it a “perverse situation.”
“This appears to be a case in which a victim of the worst sexual violence faced the prospect of continuing to be abused by her perpetrator, this time via the family courts,” Baroness Newlove said.
Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal also seemed offended when he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday that he believed authorities had followed process instead of using “common sense.”
Woodhouse and her supporters launched a Change.org petition a day after news of her situation broke. There were almost 270,000 signatures at this writing — just one day after the campaign began.
“I’m calling for a change in the law, a simple amendment to the Children’s Act 1989 that would ban any male with a child conceived by rape from applying for access/rights,” Woodhouse wrote in the petition.
Rotherham Council, meanwhile, is being taken to task with calls for a public, transparent investigation.
A spokesperson told ITV that Rotherham Council was not allowed to disclose any information regarding private family court proceedings.
“Often and understandably, cases before the Family Court are emotive and arouse strong feelings amongst those affected,” the council spokesperson added. “We do understand that the legal requirements can cause upset to those involved and so we welcome a debate around this issue, which applies across England and Wales.”
A Ministry of Justice statement took it a step further by adding, “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.”
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan lost his cool Thursday when it came time to read the Ministry’s statement on-air. Morgan went so far as to refuse to read the response — calling it “a load of crap.”
“I didn’t know that any rapist could get access to any child born from their appalling actions,” Morgan added. “This is a serial groomer and rapist, the worst type of human imaginable, preying on young girls.”
WATCH BELOW: Piers Morgan fumes over Rotherham Council’s offer to rapist
Woodhouse has also received support from at least one government official. Labour MP Louise Haigh told Hallam FM that it was “thoroughly intolerable” that women who were abused, and systematically groomed and exploited as children were failed “yet again by the system.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.