Child rapist could get access to his son
A victim of Rotherham's child sex grooming gang has slammed a council for offering her rapist access to the son he conceived during his attacks.
Brave Sammy Woodhouse, 33, was just 15 when she gave birth to drug-dealer Arshid Hussain's boy.
She fell pregnant to him after he repeatedly raped her and was later jailed for 35 years for abusing up to 50 young girls.
But Rotherham council bosses in the British town contacted Hussain, 43, in prison and offered him the chance to see his son behind bars.
Last night Sammy waved her anonymity, posting an emotional video on twitter.
She said: "This story is about myself, my son and the man that raped me and the fact Rotherham Council have offered him to apply for parental rights over my child".
"This is happening all over the country and it needs to stop.
"Children are being removed, given to rapists, murderers, for their family to have access.
"Rape victims are also having to go to support centres to share access, to see the men that raped them.
"I'm now calling on the government to change the law to ensure rapists can't gain access to children conceived through rape.
"I'm asking the public to join the campaign. People - women and children - are being put at direct risk."
Sammy said she was revealing her identity with her son's permission.
She was even warned that she might have to face the serial rapist again in court, having previously given evidence against him.
The brave mum added: "I was gobsmacked. The council knew what he did to me and to other vulnerable girls.
"They knew he was behind bars and a risk to my son, who wanted nothing to do with him, but they bent over backwards to include him in the case.
"I felt angry and scared for my son."
Campaigners described the decision as "perverse" and said it amounted to an offer to "retraumatise" his victim.
The Ministry of Justice has launched its own probe.
Louise Haigh, the shadow police and crime minister, said that the council's decision to offer the multiple rapist a role in the proceedings was "appallingly insensitive".
She added: "They handed him an invitation to retraumatise his victim.
"No man who has fathered a child through abuse or rape should have the right to apply for custody or visitation rights in the family courts."
Baroness Newlove, the victims' commissioner for England and Wales, said: "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."
A family court judge heard the child's case last year.
The council was seeking a care order with the support of his mum, who was unable to cope with the troubled boy's complex needs and agreed that he would receive greater protection in a residential placement.
By law, a local authority making such an application is obliged to give notice of the proceedings to all "respondents" in the case.
These include anyone with "parental responsibility" for the child.
The local authority told Hussain in prison of his rights and promised to keep him informed of all future proceedings.
He was told he could attend hearings and would have been entitled to request visitation rights or for the boy to be placed in the custody of his relatives.
In the end, the rapist chose not to take any part in the court proceedings.
Rotherham council said it had a duty to comply with Family Court practice, including a requirement to notify "every person whom the applicant believes to be a parent without parental responsibility for the child".
A Government spokesman said: "Existing court rules are very clear that applicants in care proceedings should only ever notify people who have parental responsibility for the child."
This article originally appeared on The Sun and is republished with permission.