A heartbroken grandmother has spoken up about the sexual abuse suffered by her 15-year-old granddaughter Victoria Agoglia, who died in 2003.
Joan Agoglia broke down in tears as she described her granddaughter’s injuries at a press conference to mark the publication of a review of Operation Augusta.
Ms Agoglia said of the review being published: “I’ve been fighting for this all my life it seems”.
Victoria was in the care of Manchester City Council after her mother fell ill. She was subjected to threats, assaults, and sexual exploitation while she was in care.
She died as a result of being administered an overdose of heroin.
Operation Augusta was launched after the death of Victoria to investigate the exploitation of children in care in Manchester, however, it failed to provide the answers that the families of the victims were looking for.
Ms Agoglia said: “I’ve had care workers come down, social workers come down, but where were they? Where were they?
“My daughter was dying and Victoria was being abused…She told me herself what these men had done to her.”
Ms Agoglia shared her distress at not being able to get the justice that Victoria deserved, as well as the fact her family were denied access to the inquest into Victoria’s death as she was in care.
She said: “I promised her that there was no way that they were going to get away with it.
Vicky’s still around and I’ve not been able to give her the satisfaction of going to heaven yet. It’s all my fault.”
In an emotional exchange Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham responded to this praising Ms Agoglia’s courage to speak up about her granddaughter’s abuse.
“I just want to say sorry to you for taking so long and you’ve spoken up for her today so brilliantly and so passionately.
“You could not have done more in terms of what you’ve done to fight for Vicky all these years.”
Following the press conference Andy Burnham said how he was “really determined to give Joan the microphone” to let the human side of the situation be heard.
He said: “Sometimes people hear this debate about child sexual exploitation in the media can seem quite abstract or remote.
“But it’s really important that people understand the impact that it can have on families and indeed potentially it could happen to anybody’s children, so you know in some ways what Joan said brought out the reason why we commissioned this report.
“I’m glad today that at least she was able, well hopefully from today she will be able to know that she’s done everything she could to fight for Victoria and maybe that’ll give her a degree of comfort moving forward.”