A Voice For The Overlooked
Lancashire Life|October 2019
Former detective Maggie Oliver exposed flaws in the investigation into child abuse in Rochdale. Now she’s dedicated to helping survivors
Susan Grffi

There are moments when Maggie Oliver admits she can’t quite believe her life has panned out the way it has. ‘I’m shocked and sometimes it’s completely overwhelming,’ says the Greater Manchester police detective-turned-whistle blower who took on the establishment in order to reveal the flaws she’d witnessed during the Rochdale sex gang investigation. Not only had authorities turned a blind eye to the brutal reality of what was happening, but they’d repeatedly failed the young victims of abuse. These girls, notes Maggie, were deemed ‘an underclass’, children who were making ‘lifestyle choices’ and therefore not worthy of the protection they were due.

‘I wanted to give a voice to the kids who’d been failed because I’m far more difficult to brush off and ignore than the kids who’d been written off. I’m an educated woman, I have a degree, I was a police officer and I have a voice that will be heard,’ says Maggie whose book Survivors: One Brave Detective’s Battle to Expose the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal was recently published. In the autobiography, she not only details her reasons for becoming a police officer, the flawed investigations she witnessed and the ways in which her concerns were dismissed, but how this played out against a backdrop of great personal tragedy.

Writing the book meant revisiting some of the most traumatic times of her life, not only in a professional capacity, but in her personal life too, including the death of her beloved husband Norman and later, their two-year-old granddaughter Macie.

‘But I’m really glad I have,’ says Maggie. ‘I think it was the right thing to do because it’s a record of what happened. It’s truthful, my kids have got something to read when I’m not here, as have my two little grandsons.

‘It’s a way to explain how I’ve come to this place, and why I felt that I had to pretty much give up my life to talk about it the failings. I feel now I can take everything I’ve learned and move it to the next chapter of my journey.’

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