MP calls for dedicated centre to support victims of child sex abuse in Rotherham

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham

The Government has been urged to fund a centre to support victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

MP Sarah Champion has also called for one organisation to co-ordinate the taking of witness statements from victims to avoid them having to speak to South Yorkshire Police, the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the National Crime Agency, which are all investigating child sex abuse in the town.

A report last year revealed 1,400 Rotherham children had been abused by largely Asian men while authorities turned a blind eye.

Ms Champion said: “The unit I propose will work in three ways – early intervention and prevention with a team of youth workers, survivors, volunteers, family support workers, parent workers and health workers.

“They would deliver education and training to professionals and parents, early prevention work with young people in education and community settings and give awareness sessions to the community at large.

“It would provide support and intervention to young people at risk and involved in grooming and sexual exploitation.

“The unit would offer direct one to one support, help with intelligence sharing and gathering, strategy meetings and investigations.”

She said cuts to South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council budgets were ‘compounding the horror’ of the child abuse scandal, claiming the authorities need more cash to cope with the aftermath – to fund more investigations and pay for Government appointed Commissioners to run the council.

“This is taking more money away from a town that needs more resources, not less, at a time when our police budget has been reduced by the Government by 20 per cent and the local authority budget has been reduced,” she said.

“How are we realistically meant to cope?

“Why is the Government compounding the horror we already endure?”

“If there had been a natural disaster that effected 1,400 people and the council and police had insufficient resources to deal with it, of course Government would intervene. I would expect a visit from the Prime Minister, national co-ordination of charities, Government experts to arrive and, resources and support for the victims.

“To date we have had nothing.”