The sad thing is authorities have let this go on for years without stopping it. It’s time to lock those guys up for the rest of their lives.
A council researcher who raised the alarm over sex abuse in Rotherham more than a decade ago was threatened and told to ‘never, ever’ repeat the allegations, it emerged today.
The woman, who was seconded to Rotherham council by the Home Office, compiled a report in 2001 that said most of the perpetrators were Asian men.
But instead of taking action, child protection bosses sent her on a ‘diversity course’ and tried to sack her.
She spoke out after the shocking conclusions of the Jay Report were published last week.
The report detailed examples of girls from Rotherham – many of them in local authority care – who were raped, trafficked and threatened with extreme violence.
It also found that senior council officers, elected members and police officers were aware of the problem for years but failed to tackle it.
Today, South Yorkshire Police revealed an independent investigation will be carried out into its failings and the region’s under fire Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright was told he is to give evidence to a parliamentary committee.
Four members of the Labour Party who held positions of authority at Rotherham Borough Council during the years when the abuse took place were also suspended pending an investigation into the scandal.
In the House of Commons, Home Secretary Theresa May was summoned to answer an urgent questions from her shadow Yvette Cooper on the affair.
Mrs May said there was a ‘dereliction of duty’ on the part of the authorities. She also warned other child abuse inquiries are taking place in other parts of the country, referring to investigations by Thames Valley Police and in Oxford and Buckinghamshire.
‘These investigations are still on-going across the country but they show we are sending a very clear message,’ she said.
Mrs May told MPs: ‘Professor Alexis Jay’s report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 is a terrible account of the appalling failures by Rotherham Council and by the police and other agencies to protect vulnerable children.
‘It was a complete dereliction of duty.’
She went on: ‘I am clear that cultural concerns, both the fear of being seen as racist, and the frankly disdainful attitude to some of our most vulnerable children must never stand in the way of child protection.
‘We know that child sexual exploitation happens in all communities. There is no excuse for it in any of them. And there is never any excuse for failing to bring the perpetrators to justice.
‘The abuse of children is a particularly vile crime and one this Government is determined to stop. We have made significant strides since 2010. We have important work under way.
‘But we will learn the lessons from Professor Jay’s report to make sure we are doing all we can to safeguard children and to prosecute the people behind these disgusting crimes.’
Today’s developments followed the latest claims by the former Rotherham council researcher who told the BBC’s Panorama programme, under the condition of anonymity, that she identified more 270 victims of trafficking and underage prostitution by mainly Muslim gangs in Rotherham.
She said: ‘And her other response was to book me on a two-day ethnicity and diversity course to raise my awareness of ethnic issues.’
The researcher said her data was taken during a raid on her office in the town and she was put under pressure to change her findings.
‘I was subjected to most intense personal hostility,’ she said.
‘There were threats made from a range of sources. I’ve never seen back-covering like it and I still feel extremely angry about that.’
The report – based on interviews with underage girls seeking help from the council’s anti-child prositution project, called Risky Business – was never published.