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Rotherham child sex abuse claims – 1,400 children sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013

A new report into Rotherham child sex abuse, written by Professor Alexis Jay, has found that around 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period.

Rotherham child sex abuse – report findings

The report, covering child sexual exploitation cases in the South Yorkshire town from 1997 to 2013, claims that police and council agencies had failed to protect the victims – some of whom had been gang-raped, doused in petrol, and threatened with being set alight if they told anyone.

The report highlights that over a third of the victims were known to child protection agencies. However, the extent of the problem was downplayed by political figures and senior managers within Rotherham council – the problem was also not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire police.

Prof Jay found that girls, some as young as 11, had been raped by large groups of men. She said:

“They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and
cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.”

Suppressed reports of child abuse in Rotherham

The failure to take action was despite three damning reports released between 2002 and 2006, the contents of which Prof Jay states:

“could not have been clearer in the description
of the situation in Rotherham”.

The three reports highlighted the extent of child exploitation and outlined links to wider criminality. However, the findings were suppressed or simply ignored – the inquiry team heard that police had failed to act on the crimes, and had treated the victims with contempt.

The majority of the accused men were described by the victims to be Asian. Many staff members were hesitant to identify the perpetrators for fear of being thought racist. Other staff members recall clear direction from their managers not to act.

John Cameron, Head of the NSPCC helpline, said:

“This report is truly damning and highlights consistent failures
to protect children from sexual abuse at the hands of
predatory groups of men.

“It is quite astonishing that even when frontline staff raised
concerns, these were not acted upon so allowing
devastating child sexual exploitation
to go unchallenged.”

Spotlight on Rotherham

Rotherham first came under scrutiny in 2010, when five men received prison sentences after being found guilty of grooming teenage girls.

Following this case, The Times released details from 200 restricted-access documents that allegedly exposed police and child protection agencies in Rotherham as having had comprehensive knowledge of these activities for a decade.

Response to the report

Rotherham council, which commissioned the report, has responded by saying that the failures were the fault of senior police officers, senior managers in child protection services, and elected councillors, “almost without exception”.

Martin Kimber, Rotherham council’s chief executive, said:

“The report does not make comfortable reading in its account
of the horrific experiences of some young people in the
past, and I would like to reiterate our sincere
apology to those who were let down when
they needed help.

“However, that must not overshadow – and certainly does not
excuse – the finding that for a significant amount of
time the council and its partners could and should
have done more to protect young people from
what must be one of the most horrific
forms of abuse imaginable.”

If you have experienced sexual abuse in relation to the Rotherham report, and you would like expert legal guidance, contact Hampson Hughes solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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