Rotherham ‘suffering resurgence of racism’ in wake of grooming scandal

The EDL protest in Rotherham
The EDL protest in Rotherham

Rotherham has suffered a ‘resurgence’ of racist incidents in the wake of the town’s grooming scandal, a new report has warned.

The ‘Voices of Despair, Voices of Hope’ publication said ‘an almost unchallenged racist frenzy of abuse and religious hatred has been allowed to develop’ in the wake of the Jay report.

Professor Alexis Jay revealed in August that at least 1,400 children had been victims of sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013, with many of the abusers coming from the Pakistani community.

The new publication, which has compiled first-hand accounts from abuse victims and their families, has been written by Chrissy Meleady and Liam Harron after the pair met at a Unite Against Fascism-organised Unity Vigil in opposition to a march by the English Defence League.

The pair have said they want the publication to give a voice to victims, as well as highlighting racist discrimination caused by the scandal.

It said recent incidents have included young children from the Pakistani community ‘being racially abused in the streets and called paedophiles’ and Muslim and Sikh girls being threatened with revenge gang rapes.

One abuse victim who contributed to the report she doesn’t want groups such as the EDL protesting in the town about the scandal.

“I never asked for Muslim children and their mothers to be abused or innocent Muslim men but you hear it everywhere now in our town,” she said.

“Even ordinary people think it is ok to shout paedophile down the street at a seven-year-old Muslim boy, I heard and saw it myself.

“It doesn’t help us, it doesn’t help our town.”

Another contributor said her mother, a Hindu from an Indian background, had been racially abused by a shopkeeper.

She said: “My mum is too scared to go to the shops now and she’s lived here from the age of five and is 82 now.

“Rotherham is her home and she’s scared now in her own home.”