This is the report’s executive summary, which makes for devastating reading. It is worth reading in full.
No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.
In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
This abuse is not confined to the past but continues to this day. In May 2014, the caseload of the specialist child sexual exploitation team was 51. More CSE cases were held by other children’s social care teams. There were 16 looked after children who were identified by children’s social care as being at serious risk of sexual exploitation or having been sexually exploited. In 2013, the Police received 157 reports concerning child sexual exploitation in the Borough.
Over the first twelve years covered by this inquiry, the collective failures of political and officer leadership were blatant. From the beginning, there was growing evidence that child sexual exploitation was a serious problem in Rotherham. This came from those working in residential care and from youth workers who knew the young people well.
…independent report on child sexual abuse in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, between1997 and 2013. Here are the key points.
About 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period, although no one knows the true scale of exploitation over the years. In more than a third of these cases the youngsters were already known to child protection agencies.
The report by Professor Alexis Jay prompted the resignation of the council’s Labour leader, Roger Stone, who said he was stepping down with immediate effect. Despite Stone’s resignation, chief executive Martin Kimber said no council officers will face disciplinary action.
Girls were raped by several men, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of perpetrators.
Within social care, the scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers. At an operational level, the police gave no priority to child sexual exploitation, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime.
The possible reasons for neglect are unclear but may include denial that this could occur in Rotherham, concern that the ethnic element could damage community cohesion, worry about the borough’s reputation and fears that publicity might compromise police operations.
One of the common threads running through child sexual exploitation across England was the prominent role of taxi drivers in being directly linked to children who were abused, said the report.
This was the case in Rotherham from a very early stage, when residential care home heads met in the nineties to share intelligence about taxis and other cars which picked up girls from outside their units. In the early 2000s some secondary school heads were reporting girls being picked up at lunchtime at the school gates and being taken away to provide oral sex to men in the lunch break.
Time and again we read in the files and other documents of children being violently raped, beaten, forced to perform sex acts in taxis and cars when they were being trafficked between towns, and serially abused by large numbers of men. Many children repeatedly self-harmed and some became suicidal. They suffered family breakdown and some became homeless. Several years after they had been abused, a disproportionate number were victims of domestic violence, had developed long-standing drug and alcohol addiction, and had parenting difficulties with their own children, resulting in child protection/children in need interventions. Some suffered post-traumatic stress and other emotional and psychological problems, often undiagnosed and untreated. Some experienced mental health problems.
Follow the links and read it all.
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