VICTIMS of child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester are having their cases newly investigated as a result of a review commissioned by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Support for the delivery of a separate assurance review into child sexual exploitation in Oldham which has been commissioned by Oldham Council and the borough’s Safeguarding Partnership also part of the move.

Following the airing of the BBC documentary, The Betrayed Girls, about child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester on 3 July 2017, the Mayor announced he wanted to assure himself and the public that everything possible has been done to protect children today and in the future and prevent it from happening again.

The findings of the first independent review have been published today (Tuesday, January 14) - “An assurance review of Operation Augusta.”

The report, written by child protection specialist Malcolm Newsam and former senior police officer Gary Ridgway, considers the Operation Augusta investigation, which was launched by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) following the death of 15-year-old Victoria Agoglia, who – after years of abuse and days after she was injected with heroin by a 50-year-old man - died in hospital of an overdose in 2003.

While the report states there is much to be commended in Operation Augusta, it found that it had not addressed the issue it was set up for - to tackle the sexual exploitation of a number of children in the care system.

Very few of the relevant perpetrators were brought to justice and neither were their activities disrupted, although there were eight criminal justice outcomes in total. Seven were prosecutions relating to police investigations and one was an immigration outcome.

Off the back of this review, a new investigation under Operation Green Jacket has been opened by GMP, which encompasses both Victoria Agoglia’s case and those involved in Operation Augusta.

Whilst Victoria’s death was investigated at the time, allegations of long standing sexual abuse that preceded her death have never been investigated and perpetrators not pursued.

In terms of further reviews:

• Work continues on the remaining workstreams of the review including the assurance exercise into non-recent child sexual exploitation in Rochdale

• Support for the delivery of a separate assurance review into child sexual exploitation in Oldham which has been commissioned by Oldham Council and the borough’s Safeguarding Partnership

Operation Augusta was set up in 2004 and uncovered the systematic exploitation of looked after children mainly in the care system in the city of Manchester.

The review team undertook detailed analysis of a sample of 25 children known to Operation Augusta and concluded that there was a significant possibility that 16 children were being sexually exploited. The age of the children who were being exploited ranged from 13 to 16 with children as young as 14 reported to have "boyfriends" in their mid-20s who were abusing them.

They also found that there was continued over-reliance by investigators in Operation Augusta on the co-operation of the child victims despite the obvious coercion and control exhibited by their perpetrators and that multi-agency strategy meetings focused on agencies encouraging the children to protect themselves rather than providing means of protection for them.

This was despite the 2004 Part 8 review into the death of Victoria Agoglia stating that “There should never be an expectation that vulnerable children / young people can provide protection for themselves.”

Meanwhile, in a separate statement from Greater Manchester Police, Assistant Chief Constable Mabs Hussain, head of specialist crime, said GMP accepted that "authorities fell short of doing all they could to protect and support the child victims of sexual exploitation identified under Operation Augusta in 2004".

He went on: “Children should be able to expect those responsible for their care will do all they can to keep them safe and I want to apologise to all those vulnerable children who were let down. I can only imagine the pain and distress they must have gone through, which would have only been made worse by these failings. I am sorry they were let down and I am sorry they were not protected from harm.

“Many of the children were subject to the most profound abuse and, although the review team acknowledged there was much in Operation Augusta and the work carried out by the investigation team to be commended, we agree the overall operation was not to the standard rightfully expected from victims.

"We have made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct so that they can carry out an independent assessment to determine if there are any conduct matters that should be investigated.

“We and our partners at Manchester City Council have personally contacted all but one victim featured in the report to offer them any support we can ahead of it being published. Each contact was carefully planned with care professionals to ensure we were as sensitive as possible and further specialist support was offered.

“Of course back in early 2000s, the priorities for forces across the UK were very different. This has completely changed and today safeguarding the vulnerable is our absolute priority.

“After taking learnings from the Operation Span investigation in Rochdale and the significant convictions secured in 2013, we have worked closely with partners across Greater Manchester to develop a consistent standard in addressing the exploitation of young people. This approach puts the victim at the centre of everything we do, which ensures that proper support is provided by the right agencies and any safeguarding concerns are addressed.

“With this support from partners, it provides a stronger footing for police to prevent, disrupt and investigate these crimes. The work of these specialised teams under Project Phoenix has been recognised nationally as showing excellent working practice in tackling child sexual exploitation across Greater Manchester.

“Our work initially focused on child sexual exploitation. We have continued to learn and develop these principles with partners over the last six years. As a result we have made further improvements to our whole approach to tackling the abuse and exploitation of young people.

“These improvements include the introduction of specialist co-located multi-agency ‘Complex Safeguarding Teams’ in every district across Greater Manchester. These focus on all aspects of exploitation including CSE, criminal exploitation and modern slavery.

“A Major Incident Team has been established under Operation Green Jacket. This dedicated multi-agency team has already carried out a significant amount of disruption actions, as well as numerous safeguarding visits.

“We have been reviewing all the information available and now a full investigation has been launched. To date, this investigation has resulted in one man being arrested and another interviewed under caution in September 2019 in connection with the abuse of Victoria Agoglia. The men have been released under investigation and we have provided an update to Victoria’s grandmother on the progress of our enquiries.

“This remains an ongoing investigation and I would encourage anyone who was involved in the original operation as a victim, potential victim or witness to please come forward and contact us so that we and partner agencies can provide you with any support we can.

“We will continue to do all that we can to safeguard children within our communities. Greater Manchester Police will investigate any report of child exploitation that is made.”

If you have been affected by this case and wish to speak to police, or if you believe you have information that can assist the investigation team, they can be contacted via

If you have been affected by this case and would like to seek support from specialist agencies but do not wish to speak to police, then Victim Support can be contacted on 08081689024