About 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period, according to a report that concluded “it is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered”.
The uncompromising report on events in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013 said in more than a third of these cases the youngsters were already known to child protection agencies.
Warning also of “blatant” collective failures by the council’s leadership, the report by Professor Alexis Jay prompted the resignation of the council’s Labour leader.
Roger Stone, the leader, said: “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.”
Despite Stone’s resignation, chief executive Martin Kimber said no council officers will face disciplinary action.
Jay said she found examples of “children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone”.
Jay 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 girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.
The report said failures of the political and officer leadership of Rotherham council over the first 12 years she looked at were blatant, as the seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers and was not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire police. Jay said police “regarded many child victims with contempt”.
“About 1,400 Rotherham children ‘sexually exploited over 16-year period'”