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27.08.14

Rotherham child abuse scandal ignored since 2005 – independent inquiry reveals

South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, is facing calls to resign following the publication of a report into child abuse in Rotherham.

The study, published on Tuesday, revealed that at least 1,400 children in the Rotherham area had been sexually exploited over a 16 year period.

Wright was responsible for children's services at Rotherham Council from 2005 to 2010, when he received three reports about widespread abuse but failed to act, according to Prof Alexis Jay's damning report.

Prof Jay, a former chief inspector of social work, concluded that the council knew as far back as 2005 of sexual exploitation being committed on a wide scale by mostly Asian men, yet failed to act.

Following the release of the report, Rotherham's Labour council leader, Roger Stone, resigned. There have been several calls for Wright to do the same.

Stone said: “I believe it is only right that I, as leader, take responsibility on behalf of the council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report and it is my intention to do so.”

Paul Lakin, deputy leader of the council and Wright's successor as cabinet member for children's services, offered only partial backing for the commissioner.

Speaking to BBC Radio's 4 Today programme, he said: “The decision on whether the police and crime commissioner should go is clearly an issue for him and for him alone. There are clearly people who are either councillors within the council or working for other authorities who really need to take a look at their role throughout this time and then decide on their position.”

Key findings of the report include that children as young as 11 were raped by multiple attackers, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.

It added that the "collective failures" of political, police and social care leadership were "blatant" over the first 12 years covered by the inquiry.

Karen Froggatt, a director of the charity Victim Support, told the BBC: “The details in that report were truly horrific and it's obvious that some serious mistakes were made in Rotherham. It takes a huge amount of courage for a victim of such a crime to come forward, and all they want is for it to stop.”

Wright has issued an apology for the council's failures, but refused to discuss his future. His spokeswoman issued a statement: “The commissioner has previously apologised for the failure of Rotherham council while he was in its cabinet from 2005 to 2010. He repeats that apology today and he fully accepts that there was more that everyone at Rotherham council should have done to tackle this terrible crime.

“Since becoming police and crime commissioner he has repeatedly publicly made tackling child sexual exploitation his number one priority.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opininon@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Rob   28/08/2014 at 22:24

Why are the police not investigating the criminals who have abused these children? Rolf H. Max C. and others have been investigated and convicted of lesser crimes, yet we hear nothing about these gangs in Rotherham being investigated. They are known to their victims! This is appalling. What has our country become?

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