Received a response from Oxfordshire Council today regarding the reported links between Oxford abuse victims and Bournemouth. I have attached a copy on my Facebook page and on Twitter for interest (https://www.facebook.com/TobiasEllwood or https://twitter.com/TobiasEllwoodMP)
I'm glad they have conceded sensitivity in misleadingly including Bournemouth in their report, and good to hear no new info ties Bournemouth to these cases. They have also reassured me that they have no further information to share.
I was frankly quite shocked by some of the comments sent via Twitter and email regarding whether my interests in this case extended simply to 'protecting Bournemouth's reputation'. This is quite simply untrue and I want to emphasise how strongly I feel for those involved. Abuse like this is incredibly serious - victims need the right support to deal with the horrific after-effects of situations like this, and perpetrators need to be brought to justice. From my own discussions with the local council in Bournemouth and with Dorset Police, I know they also take reports of this nature incredibly seriously and were astonished to read some of the allegations in Oxfordshire Council's report because until that point they had not been made aware of them.
However in order to help those who have suffered in cases like this, authorities need to report in to each other and to communicate, which is why I was so concerned that Bournemouth authorities were not made aware of the report's contents in relation to Bournemouth before it was published. When accusations like this are made, if authorities have proper evidence that needs to be shared I would encourage this to happen to enable those suffering at the hands of abuse to be offered as much support as possible, wherever they are living.
I hope this case reaffirms to all local authorities in the UK the importance of sharing information in such sensitive criminal cases, and encourages them to all work closer together to stop such abuse from happening again.