These are the three heroes that played a crucial role in bringing down the Rochdale grooming gangs who targeted, abused and raped dozens of young girls.
Nazir Afzal, Maggie Oliver and Sara Rowbotham battled police and council bosses in order to seek justice after gangs of mainly Asian men destroyed the lives of a number of children in the Greater Manchester town between 2004 and 2012.
A new report published yesterday revealed the plight faced by the girls who were the subject of this abuse and the struggle they faced to be believed, as well as the harassment when they gave evidence against their abusers.
The damning dossier, which has identified 96 men who are still deemed a potential risk to children, has sparked calls from whistleblowers that there is ‘categorically’ still grooming taking place in the town.
Whistleblower Ms Rowbotham appeared on the verge of tears as she greeted her vindication after years of being ‘scapegoated’.
The former sexual health worker – who was played by Maxine Peake in the BBC drama about the scandal, Three Girls – was later appointed MBE for services to young people after an online petition attracted more than 300,000 signatures.
Between 2004 and 2014, she worked for the Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team for the NHS, which is when she uncovered the Rochdale child sex abuse ring and helped bring the perpetrators to court.
As a front line sexual health worker, who led the NHS crisis team, she made 181 referrals detailing the abuse and sexual grooming of young people between 2005 and 2011.
In 2012, she told the Rochdale inquiry her bosses had ignored scores of warnings that girls were being groomed and sexually exploited. She was made redundant two years later, in 2014.
Speaking yesterday, Ms Rowbotham said: ‘How many more times will it take a drama or documentary and the ensuing public outcry to call people and organisations to account?’ We were blamed, and they said it was my fault.’
Ms Oliver is former detective who resigned from Greater Manchester Police to go public with her views on grooming gangs.
She joined he Greater Manchester Police in 1997 as a police constable and had been part of The Serious Crime Division of the GMP and investigated countless gangland murders, shootings, kidnappings, rapes and witness protection cases.
Her first contact with the scandal was her investigation into multiple severe sexual assaults perpetrated mainly by Pakistani men. During her work in Operation Augusta, Oliver interviewed many victims, some as young as 11.
She was shocked by the lack of response of the police force and the lack of efforts in trying to protect the victims and said her two-decade battle to expose the truth ‘has almost ruined my life’.