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'There Is No Saintly Profession, Only Those Composed of Flawed Human Beings'

Article excerpt

Byline: DENISE ROBERTSON

ITV's Exposure is becoming a powerful force. Last week they brought us the tragic story of a young woman murdered by her family in an honour killing.

Banaz Mahmod went to police five times, telling officers exactly who was planning to kill her.

In a haunting video recorded during one visit she asks what they will do to help her. The answer was precisely nothing.

It took an officer three months to write up an account of her interview. Within two weeks of her signing it she was murdered in her parents' house. Her body was stuffed in a suitcase and then buried six feet down.

Her father, uncle and two other men are now serving life for her murder.

They were convicted because of the heroic efforts of another policewoman, DCI Caroline Goode, who, once Banaz was reported missing, relentlessly pursued the men responsible. In the last few months we have had to ditch our old belief that all police officers are upright, all nurses compassionate, all care workers protective, all MPs beyond reproach.

Events have proved that there is no saintly profession, only those composed of flawed human beings. But just occasionally there is one among them who, like DCI Goode, shine like stars.

THERE is a law in this country that says it is illegal to have sex with a young person under the age of 16. If you see or know of such a thing occurring and do nothing you are complicit in that illegal act.

In Rochdale, social workers and police were well aware that adult males were having sex with girls under the age of 16.

Many people within the BBC must have known that star presenters were taking advantage of under-age, star-struck kids. Every day, in schools run by the Government, school nurses are handing out the morning after pill to girls as young as 12 without feeling the need to inform their parents let alone the police.

I'm sure they ask questions but can they be sure the sexual partners are fellow teenagers and not predatory adults? I am not suggesting we leave young people without information or help but the easy availability of the morning after pill relieves them of the need to practise safe sex.

And not only are the figures for some sexually transmitted diseases rising, some of them are becoming resistant to treatment.

I'm writing this for a reason. Last year I appeared on television with a lovely young woman who had been infected with HIV on a teenage sexual encounter. Battling the illness, she was anxious to warn other young women of the dangers of unprotected sex. …