Betrayed by the PC cowards: Damning report reveals 1,400 girls were abused by sex gangs because social workers and police feared racism claims - so did nothing
- Report found 1,400 children abused between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham
- The figure is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale
- Victims terrorised with guns and doused in petrol and threatened with fire
- More than a third of the cases were already know to agencies
- Author of the report condemned 'blatant' failings by council's leadership
- Action blocked by political correctness as staff 'feared appearing racist'
- Majority of victims described the perpetrators as 'Asian' men
- Leader of Rotherham Council has stepped down with immediate effect
- No council employees will receive disciplinary action, leaders state
At least 1,400 girls were left to be abused by Asian men because the authorities were too scared to admit there was a race issue, a report said yesterday.
Over a 16-year period, children as young as 11 were sexually exploited by gangs of men – most of them of Pakistani origin.
But police and council officials suppressed evidence of the crimes because they feared being labelled racist.
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Horrific: A report has discovered that 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period. Adil Hussain (left) and Razwan Razaq (right) were jailed in 2010 for grooming young girls in the town
Gang: Umar Razaq was another of the five-strong sex gang jailed and placed on the sex offenders' register
Concerns about damage to community cohesion were put above the need to protect the vulnerable. Police treated the victims with contempt, turning a blind eye to their plight and in many cases holding them responsible.
Despite the appalling failures in the case, no one in authority has been sacked or even disciplined.
MPs and charities said the scale of the abuse was almost ‘incomprehensible’ and called for a criminal investigation into those who helped cover it up.
And at least six victims have now launched a class action against Rotherham council and could be in line for millions of pounds in compensation.
The devastating report by Professor Alexis Jay revealed that:
- Staff were given ‘clear directions’ from managers to downplay the ‘ethnic dimension’ of the abuse despite almost all the perpetrators being of Pakistani heritage;
- Three separate reports warning of the scale of the abuse were ‘suppressed or ignored’ by the council because it was ‘in denial’ about the crimes;
- Serious discussions about sexual abuse were impossible because of the ‘macho’ and ‘sexist’ culture at the Labour-controlled council;
- Police treated victims and their families as if they were to blame for the abuse, and took no action against the paedophiles;
- The victims were left so traumatised that one tried to throw herself in front of moving cars and another said she ‘might as well be dead
South Yorkshire police apologise to victims of sexual abuse
Jailed: Zafran Ramzan, 21, (left) was jailed for nine years and Mohsin Khan (right) for four in the same case
Last night Rotherham council leader Roger Stone resigned, apologising to the victims let down by the authority.
The council, which commissioned Professor Jay’s report, said it accepted the findings, including that senior managers in child protection, elected councillors and senior police officers were responsible for failures ‘almost without exception’.
Some of the officials are thought to still be working for the council. Others have moved to jobs elsewhere.
There were calls for a full criminal inquiry into the cover-up by police, council officials and social workers.
Condemned: Professor Alexis Jay, author of the report, blasted the 'blatant' failing of Rotherham Council
Widespread: More than a third of the sexual abuse cases were known to agencies but not followed up
John Cameron of the NSPCC said there had been a collective blindness over the abuse which allowed devastating child sexual exploitation to go unchallenged.
The charity said; ‘This report is truly damning. Many of these children were already extremely vulnerable, and the manner in which they were let down by agencies entrusted to protect them is appalling.
‘It is hard to imagine the damage caused to victims who were preyed upon with almost impunity over many years, because of a reluctance to comprehend or address what was widely happening.’
It called for authorities to ensure that such failings should never be repeated and that ‘cultural sensitivities should never stand in the way of protecting children’.
Adam Pemberton of Victim Support said: ‘The extent of the sexual exploitation of young girls is horrific.
‘Almost as shocking as the details of that abuse is the abject failure on the part of social services to protect these children. Vulnerable girls were often not believed by the authorities because of their troubled backgrounds.
NO COUNCIL EMPLOYEES WILL FACE DISCIPLINARY ACTION OVER ABUSE
Martin Kimber said no council employees will face disciplinary action following the damning report
No council employees will face disciplinary action in a town where 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation in a 16-year period, the local authority's chief executive has said.
Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone resigned today following the publication of a shocking report which detailed gang rapes, grooming, trafficking and other sexual exploitation on a wide scale in the South Yorkshire town.
But Shaun Wright, the current Police Commissioner for South Yorkshire is Shaun Wright, who was widely criticised for failing to tackle sex abuse in Rotherham during his five-year stint in the council's children and young people's department, said he is more determined than ever to lead a Police Force that 'effectively roots out the evil criminals who carry out such disgraceful abuse'.
Council chief executive Martin Kimber said he did not have the evidence to discipline any individuals working for the council despite the report saying there had been 'blatant' collective failures by its leadership at the time.
Mr Kimber said: 'Officers in senior positions responsible for children's safeguarding services throughout the critical periods when services fell some way short of today's standards do not work for the council today.
'To that extent, I have not been able to identify any issues of professional practice related to current serving officers of this council that would require me to consider use of disciplinary or capability procedures.'
Mr Stone said in a statement: 'Having considered the report, I believe it is only right that I, as leader, take responsibility on behalf of the council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report and it is my intention to do so.
'For this reason, I have today agreed with my Labour group colleagues that I will be stepping down as leader with immediate effect.'
A statement released on behalf of Mr Wright said: 'Professor Jay’s report makes recommendations for improvements in the way South Yorkshire Police deal with these crimes, and Mr Wright will be meeting with the Chief Constable to ensure these are implemented in full.
'He is more determined than ever to lead a Police Force that effectively roots out the evil criminals who carry out such disgraceful abuse to South Yorkshire children and brings them to justice.'
Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, said she found examples of 'children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone'.
She said: 'They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.'
She said she found that girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.
‘They were denied help not due to lack of resources, but due to a lack of concern.’
Jane Collins, Ukip’s Yorkshire and Humber MEP, said: ‘I categorically call for the resignation of everyone directly and indirectly involved in this case. The Labour Council stand accused of deliberately ignoring child sex abuse victims for 16 years. The apologies we have heard are totally insincere and go nowhere near repairing the damage done.
‘I also call for a criminal investigation by a force not directly linked with this scandal in to all those implicated in this scandal. There is no place for these people in public life.’
The detailed inquiry into sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 put the total number of child victims of ‘sexual exploitation’ at a ‘conservative’ estimate of 1,400.
In more than a third of cases the young victims were already known to agencies.
‘It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered,’ concluded the report.
HORRIFIC MURDER OF GIRL, 17, KILLED FOR 'BRINGING SHAME' ON TWO PAKISTANI FAMILIES WHOSE MEN HAD USED HER FOR SEX... AND SOCIAL WORKERS KNEW SHE WAS AT RISK FROM THE AGE OF 11
Laura Wilson, 17, was murdered for bringing shame on the families of two Pakistani men who had used her for sex
The spotlight fell on Rotherham in 2010, after Laura Wilson, 17, was murdered for bringing shame on the families of two Pakistani men who had used her for sex.
It was later revealed that social workers had known for six years that the white teenage mother was at clear risk from predatory Asian gangs, and had received information about certain adults suspected of targeting her from the age of 11.
Laura, 17, had been groomed by a string of British Pakistanis before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers' families of the sexual relationships.
Her killer Ashtiaq Asghar, who was 18 at the time, was given a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to murdering Laura in October 2010.
In 2012, the council's Safeguarding Children Board published a serious case review but key passages which reveal they knew she was at particular risk from 'Asian men' had been blocked out with black lines.
The council went to court in an attempt to tried to suppress the hidden information after a uncensored copy of the report was leaked to the Times newspaper but they abandoned legal action.
The uncensored report confirms that Laura, identified as Child S, had dealings with 15 agencies and identified 'numerous missed opportunities' to protect her.
It states that she eventually became 'almost invisible' to care professionals.
The hidden information included the knowledge that at the age of 13 Laura and a friend had been given alcohol by men at a takeaway who then asked what she would give them in return.
Murder: Laura was stabbed repeatedly by 18-year-old Ashtiaq Asghar before being thrown into this South Yorkshire canal to die
She had also been referred to a child sexual exploitation project just three months after her 11th birthday. Another censored passage reveals that Laura had been 'mentioned' during a 2009 police inquiry that eventually led to the conviction of five Pakistani men for sex offences against three underage girls.
While the published report mentioned the fact that a friend, who Laura knew when she was 10, was 'thought to have become involved in sexual exploitation', it concealed the succeeding passage which read: 'with particular reference to Asian men'.
In August 2013, four women launched legal action against Rotherham council over 'systematic failures' to protect them from 'sexual abuse by predatory men when they were children' according to their lawyers.
One girl, known only as 'Jessica' claims she was abused daily as a 14-year-old by a 24-year-old man after social services failed to accept that she was a victim grooming.
On one ocassion married father-of-two Arshid Hussain was even caught with the half naked schoolgirl under his bed but documents revealed that police arrested her - and let him go.
Rotherham, South Yorkshire, has become known as Britain's under-age sex capital, after a string of high profile cased where authorities have let down vulnerable children.
In another shocking case, reported in 2012, a 13-year-old girl told police how she had been groomed and raped by an Asian sex gang.
She wrote a harrowing letter to herself at the age of 14 addressed to her alter-ego Michelle, in which she wrote, 'I feel like the Asians really hate me even when they say they love me'.
The girl, who told police in 2003 about the rape that took her virginity and the time five men queued outside a bedroom to demand sex from her, added, 'They took all my dreams and my life away from me.'
Warnings: The report comes after two others done between 2002 and 2006 which 'could not have been clearer'
Children as young as 11 were doused in petrol and threatened with fire and told not to speak out in the town
Professor Jay said the contents of the report were ‘appalling’. She said: ‘They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.’ The authorities tasked with protecting these children were well aware of the scale and nature of the problem, but there was a collective failure to tackle it.
Three official reports between 2002 and 2006 ‘could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham’ and yet little was done.
Professor Jay said the first report was ‘effectively suppressed’ because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored.
A ‘macho’ and sexist culture also existed in the council which was not conducive to tackling such a sensitive subject as sexual abuse of troubled under-age girls.
Around 8 per cent of the population of Rotherham come from ethnic minority groups.
'I ABHOR THE LIFELONG DAMAGE THAT WAS WREAKED UPON THE LIVES OF ALL THOSE AFFECTED': STATEMENT FROM ROTHERHAM COUNCIL LEADER ROGER STONE AS HE STEPS DOWN FOLLOWING DAMNING REPORT
Resigned: Roger Stone has stepped down with immediate effect following the release of the report
Announcing his resignation with immediate effect, Roger Stone said: 'Today's publication of Alexis Jay's inquiry report has highlighted historic failings by Rotherham Borough Council and its partners in tackling the scourge that is child sexual exploitation.
'The Council will now rightly consider the next steps to be taken following its publication, including ways to build on the significant improvements put in place in recent years.
'I join our Chief Executive Martin Kimber and our Cabinet Member Cllr Paul Lakin in sending my heartfelt apologies to those young people and their families who this report shows have been badly let down by the Council in the past.
'Like any right-minded person, I am disgusted by CSE and abhor the lifelong damage that it wreaks upon the lives of all those affected by it.
'It is a matter of great regret for me, as it is for many others, that so many people have been traumatised by CSE here in Rotherham.
'However, having considered the report, I believe it is only right that I, as Leader, take responsibility on behalf of the Council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report and it is my intention to do so.
'For this reason, I have today agreed with my Labour Group colleagues that I will be stepping down as Leader, with immediate effect.
'A new Leader will be elected in due course.
'I have always considered my most important job as Leader has been to share my passion for this borough and to work in the best interests of everyone here in Rotherham.
'I believe my decision to step down, though not an easy one for me to make, does exactly that, allowing a new chapter in the history of Rotherham Borough Council to begin.
'I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those within the Council and in our partner organisations who have worked with me over the past 10 years and I wish them all the very best for the future.'
Rotherham child sex victim, 15, doused in petrol and threatened with fire after she was trafficked to three different cities
One victim of child sex abuse in Rotherham was trafficked for sex to Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield by the time she was 15-years-old and was doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight.
The girl, referred to only as Child B in today's report, was threatened with being forced into prostitution, her older sibling was taken to hospital, and the windows of their house were shattered.
The report said she was 'groomed by an older man involved in the exploitation of other children'.
The report said: 'Child B loved this man. He trafficked her to Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield and offered to provide her with a flat in one of those cities.
One victim of child sex abuse in Rotherham was trafficked for sex to Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield by the time she was 15-years-old and was doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight
Read more: 1,400 girls abused by sex gangs as social workers and police feared racism claims, report reveals | Mail Online
This is an outrage on so many levels and heads should (but most likely won't) roll. It also seems to me that there was a great degree of 'female shaming' going on here - would things have got so far, would the victims have been arrested and blamed in Social Service reports, if they had been boys? Again and again we have seen this sort of shaming and blaming much more likely to occur if the victim is female, with teenage girls who have been gang raped at proms and parties and then all but run out of town with their family while others scrabble to blame them and exonerate the perpetrators. This has to stop. This is about more than inexcusable 'cultural differences in attitude', more than political correctness, this is about troubled young women being devalued by a society who doesn't deem them worthy of protection and still pushes the blame for the hideous actions of others upon them.