A DETECTIVE-turned-whistleblower who has helped an Oldham rape victim take legal action against police for not charging the man suspected of attacking her when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl 23 years ago has urged other women in the town with similar experiences to come forward.

Maggie Oliver has supported the alleged victim The Oldham Times is calling Susan to protect her identity, since we brought to light her harrowing ordeal on October 16, 1998 as she stayed over night at a friend's house in Copster Hill.

Immediately after Susan's ordeal, she was taken by her family to the St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester where she underwent what she describes as a "distressing and intimate" examination in which DNA swabs were taken.

But a legal team representing her in a bid to claim compensation have told her that that forensic evidence has been lost.

It has also been revealed that the suspect was never interviewed by the police and his DNA has never been taken.

And although Susan says she and her mother were told at the time that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided there was not enough evidence to charge the alleged attacker, the case was in fact was never presented to the CPS for consideration.

Police this week defended their decision not to charge or prosecute the suspect, saying there not enough evidence to proceed, but did not address the issue of lost evidence.

Maggie Oliver launched her own charity - The Maggie Oliver Foundation (TMOF) - 18 months ago and, including Susan, has since helped more than 2,000 victims of rape (both sexes) sexual abuse, child abuse, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

She told The Oldham Times her organisation had been "overwhelmed" with victims coming forward, but urged others who had not so far done so tod do the same.

"There aresome cases that are so much worse than Susan's," she said. "Some what we've been told is shocking to the core."

TMOF has now launched an online help service for victims which can be accessed by visiting https://www.themaggieoliverfoundation.com/contact/

The aim, Maggies said, is to "buddy up" victims with experience volunteers who can support them.

"We offer one to one phone support to survivors via our 'Pain into Power' phone support service," she said.

"Survivors self refer online via our website but from then on support is by phone."