Two fathers whose daughters were victims of child sex exploitation tracked down their abusers – only to be arrested by police themselves.
The dads had attempted to remove their daughters from houses where abuse was taking place, but they were the ones who were then arrested by police.
Prof Jay’s inquiry said police often treated victims with ‘contempt’, frequently arresting them while taking no action against those committing offences.
Her report said: “In two of the cases, fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene.
“In a small number of cases, the victims themselves were arrested for offences such as breach of the peace or being drunk and disorderly, with no action taken against the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault against children.”
The report revealed there has been only a ‘small number’ of successful prosecutions for offences against children.
It said: “The courage required of children to give evidence against their attackers has been rightly commended, but the challenges cannot be underestimated.
“Many children refused to give evidence, or withdrew statements as a direct result of threats, intimidation and assaults against them or their families.
“Overall, the small number of prosecutions is disproportionate to the numbers of children abused and the seriousness of the offences committed against them.”
District Commander for Rotherham, Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, who started in post in 2012, said the way South Yorkshire Police deals with the issue has improved. He added an ‘unreserved apology’ to victims.
He said: “We have completely overhauled the way in which we deal with abuse and that’s been recognised in the report and by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary earlier this year. In the last four years we’ve made significant strides in how we protect those at risk.”