Woman protests after rapist was granted parental access to her son

A British mother pleaded for a change in the law on Wednesday after her rapist was told he could seek access to her son.

Arshid Hussain — ringleader of a notorious child abuse gang who was jailed for 35 years in 2016 — was contacted by the local council in Rotherham, northern England, to give him the chance to apply for parental rights and play a role in the boy’s life.

Sammy Woodhouse, who was 15 when Hussain raped her and got her pregnant, identified herself as the mother in question after The Times newspaper revealed the story about Hussain.

“This story is actually about myself, about my son and about the man that raped me,” she said on Twitter.

“This is happening all over the country and it needs to stop.

“Children are being removed, being given to rapists, to murderers, for their families to have access.”

She called on the government to change the 1989 Children Act “to ensure that rapists can’t gain access to children conceived through rape and abuse.

“Women and children are being put at direct risk.”

Rotherham gained notoriety in 2014 when a report found as many as 1,400 victims of organised child sexual exploitation in the town.

The perpetrators were described as being chiefly men of Pakistani heritage.

Similar rings have since been exposed in towns and cities across Britain.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion told BBC television of her “utter disgust, incredulity” at the case.

“Victims are re-traumatised again and again by the system,” she said.

A Rotherham Council spokesman said: “We must comply with legal requirements, including practice directions, and that would include giving notice of proceedings to parents with or without formal parental responsibility.”

The Ministry of Justice said in a statement: “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.

“Local authorities can apply to courts to request permission not to notify parents without parental responsibility about care proceedings, and courts should consider the potential harm to the child and mother when making this decision.”
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