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‘The council will not do anything’ about Rotherham sex abuse claims teen victim

Councillors meet in Rotherham TownHall to discuss the recent report into child services and sexual grooming in the town
Chief Executive Martin Kimber and deputy leader Cllr Paul Lakin

Councillors meet in Rotherham TownHall to discuss the recent report into child services and sexual grooming in the town Chief Executive Martin Kimber and deputy leader Cllr Paul Lakin

A 17-year-old girl who was a victim of years of abuse says the Rotherham councillors at the centre of the scandal ‘will do nothing about it’.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had been abused by men who groomed her using social media and raped her in Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster.

But when police raided the home of the 23-year-old who had been abusing the girl, police arrested her, she said.

“Foster carers used to drop me off to meet a specific man who was 23 years old when he started doing that to me. Police raided where I was staying with him because I was missing to the local authority, but they arrested me and not him.

“It wasn’t clear to them that he’d been abusing me, even though I was stood there naked.

“That wasn’t clear enough to them. He was already on the sex offenders’ register.”

Rotherham councillors met to discuss the Professor Alexis Jay’s report which revealed at least 1,400 girls had been victims of child sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Deputy leader Coun Paul Lakin claimed he was as ‘confident as anybody in Rotherham can be’ that the town is now safe.

The girl, protesting outside the meeting with her mum, said nobody has yet been prosecuted or arrested for what happened to her.

She added: “They sit and talk about it and make out that they’ll do something about it. But nothing will be done about it. If something was going to be done about it, it would have been done ages ago when they first found out it was happening.”

Her mother added: “The police knew about it. Every time we asked for help she either got moved away or got arrested. Sex offenders walked free.

“She’s got to be tortured for the rest of her life because they wanted to cover up a cover-up.

“We are all living in torture. Social services condoned it. Police condoned it. They told me there was nothing they could do.”

Rotherham Council ‘accepted in full’ the recommendations in the Jay Report, as well as passing further recommendations relating to police, taxi licensing, scrutiny and asking the Crown Prosecution Service about alleged crimes.

Councillors also said more resources would be put into child sexual exploitation. Chief executive Martin Kimber added: “It goes without saying this is the top priority for the council.”

Coun Joyce Thacker said the council will work with schools and academies to spread awareness of child sex exploitation and encouraged staff and family to be vigilant for signs that young people are being abused.

Coun Lakin spoke to The Star about the scandal in the wake of repeated calls for the current council cabinet to resign.

He said: “You have seen from last week that leader Coun Roger Stone has resigned and he was right to resign.

“The Labour party has moved swiftly to suspend four people and there are other investigations ongoing.

“Now that’s for the Labour party and the Labour whip in Rotherham to look at.”

Coun Lakin also said he and Coun Kimber were instrumental in setting up the Jay report.

He said: “The Jay report was actioned by the Labour council in Rotherham following the revelations of 2013.

“I had a discussion with the-then leader Coun Stone in the presence of Coun John Doyle and other cabinet members and strongly recommended that we needed to undertake an independent investigation, and there was no argument from Coun Stone – a bit of a discussion.

“Coun Stone then rang the chief executive and told him to get on with commissioning that report.”

Asked about the safety of children in Rotherham today, he said: “I can be as confident as anybody in Rotherham can be that children are safe.

“We’ve had a number of inspections and investigations and reports and I can go back to the Ofsted inspection of 2010 that said services for keeping children and young people safe were adequate, so did the 2011 inspection, so did the 2012 inspection.

“We’ve had a Barnardo’s best practice review, and the new chair of safeguarding boards did his own diagnostic for services into sexual exploitation.

“A number of recommendations came out of those which we implemented or are still implementing.

“That ensured that services today for children and young people in Rotherham are as safe as they can be.”

 

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