Child Rape in Rotherham: Questions rape survivors, parents and the general public want answers to

Submitted to the Home Affairs Committee on 9 September. We have received no substantial reply so far.

The Report by Dr Alexis Jay issued in August 2014, raises more questions than it answers. Unless these questions are asked and answered now, this will amount to a further cover up.

The Report says that over 1,400 girls suffered multiple crimes including: rape, child abduction, threats with guns, being given Class A drugs and alcohol, witness intimidation such as serious injury to themselves and other members of their families. The Report says no councillors or police in the area can say they didn’t know what was going on, following explicit reports by Risky Business to council meetings in 2004 and 2005 naming 50 perpetrators, including names of taxi firms, individual taxi drivers, and takeaways, and addresses where rape took place, yet no concerted action followed for years. Some interviewees told the Report writer they suspected family or business connections with taxi firms, takeaways and hotels where the girls were raped (as Risky Business explicitly named in their reports to Council meetings in 2004 & 5), but police said there was no evidence of this.

Prostitution has been used as an excuse to “blame” these rape victims as involved in “prostitution”, “a lifestyle choice”, being “not blameless”, “undeserving”. Many of these girls were well under 14 when the attacks started, they were victims of the crimes of rape and of paying to have sex with a child. Race and ethnicity were used as an excuse to justify the lack of action against the perpetrators. This presumes that the Pakistani community would stand with rapists rather than victims, which is a blatant piece of racism on the part of the police, the council, the MPs and social services. The Asian community was outraged at the perpetrators and the police and politicians’ protection of the perpetrators. It also presumes that there were no Asian victims; Asian women’s organisations have reported that this is not the case.

The gang rape of children was not investigated and victims were dismissed and even criminalised. This amounts to aiding and abetting rape and all the other violent crimes exposed in this report, which are going on not only in S Yorkshire but all over the UK.

Questions rape survivors and the public want answers to. Given the circumstances described in this report and what has come out from previous reports, it beggars belief that there has been no examination of possible connections, financial or otherwise, between the perpetrators and the police, politicians and social workers who covered for them. Not only all the officers, starting at the top, but all the local councillors and MPs (former MP for the area Denis MacShane was later jailed for fiddling his expenses) and the Home Office must be questioned, and charges brought against those who shielded, enabled, encouraged, organised, profited from or got promoted as a result of this violence against children and their families.

  1. Sex with a child under 13 is rape, there can be no defence of consent. Paying for sex with a child under 16 is illegal.
    Why are officers who claimed 12-year-old girls were compliant and consenting to sex with adult men still in the police force? Do they not know what a crime is? Do they not know the difference between the rape of children and sex between consenting adults? Do they not know that sex with a child is rape, and paying children for sex is not prostitution or a lifestyle choice, but rape? Why is the public paying police as law enforcers when they don’t apply the law?
  2. Police aided and abetted the widespread rape of children. This is a crime. Why have no officers been arrested and prosecuted for this? The Select Committee heard evidence in private from a Home Office researcher who feared for her life after two police officers visited her and threatened to pass her name to the groomers. Who were these officers and whose orders were they acting on?
  3. What other illegality are they engaged in or protecting?
  4. How was other reported rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and other child abuse dealt with while this was going on? How many rapes were no crimed? How many victims were pressurized into withdrawing or retracting their allegations? How many were even prosecuted for reporting rape on the pretext that they were lying?
  5. What are the police doing instead of protecting the public from rape, child abuse and murder?
  6. Victims were themselves charged and prosecuted. Loved ones who tried to protect them were dismissed and even arrested.
    Who are the officers who arrested the girls and their loved ones instead of their perpetrators? Will they be arrested and prosecuted for perverting the course of justice?
  7. Police provided no protection for the girls who came forward. Even worse they seem to have told the perpetrators about them.
    Which police officers leaked to a perpetrator that one girl was about to make a statement about him having broken her brother’s legs? How else would he know that his victim was at that moment in the police station? 
    This information enabled him to text her that he had abducted her 11 year old sister in order to intimidate her into not reporting. Why wasn’t he prosecuted for intimidating a witness – a serious crime?
  8. Dr Jay’s report says police disbelieved the first report as exaggerated: Were police asked why they disbelieved it? Were they asked to look into it anyway? Did they say they disbelieved it in order to ignore it?
  9. Why were police on the side of the criminals rather than their victims? Is it just prejudice against children, especially those in care? Or did they have something to gain?
    What is the relationship between the officers and these criminals? What did the police have to gain by not arresting them? Were officers paid or afforded favours to keep quiet about this? 
    A charity named one officer in written evidence to the Select Committee who was taking bribes from groomers in return for information. Is he being investigated? Are others? Were officers who allowed these rapes to continue promoted? How many?
  10. What is the connection of the officers, both those in charge or those on the ground, with the perpetrators? Was money passing hands?
  11. Some perpetrators were given cautions – meaning they admitted their crimes. Whose decision was it to give perpetrators a caution?
  12. Why have they not been rearrested for subsequent crimes and given a more appropriate punishment? Are the police claiming they have not done anything criminal since they were cautioned?
  13. Which of the so called ‘ring leaders’ have since been prosecuted and for what?
  14. Are those not deemed to be ‘ring leaders’ allowed to carry on with impunity or will they be prosecuted as well?
  15. Who allowed police and children’s services to dramatically reduce the number of girls being monitored, and why was nobody challenged about the tiny numbers of girls being identified as at risk of sexual exploitation?
  16. Have the ‘senior investigating police’ been asked to justify their ‘adamant’ refusal to link the alleged ‘honour killing’ of Child S with what they considered ‘totally unrelated …. other local violence against girls’? Who were the men she was said to have had sex with? Were they connected to the grooming of her sister or any of the other girls?
  17. Why didn’t Risky Business go public and alert the Home Office or a government body or go to the media to blow the racket open?
  18. The presumption is that the Asian community would stand with rapists against their victims, which is a blatant piece of racismAsian women’s organisations have said that Asian girls were also victims. How many? Did any come forward and were they treated any better than the white victims? Is this being investigated now?
  19. The presumption that criminals who are Asian are immune is not credible. How many Asian men were stopped and searched, much of it illegally, over this period?
  20. How much are senior officers determining the priorities for investigation of suspected crimes of their juniors and monitoring what was being done?
  21. Were any police whistleblowers punished or sacked for objecting to this cover up of illegality?
  22. Why didn’t the police know the difference between rape,  which is a crime, and prostitution among consenting adults which is not? How widespread is this gross ignorance among police forces?

Crown Prosecution Service

  1. The Report says that the employees of the CPS dealing with CSE before 2010 have now retired. Why should this prevent an investigation? Will they be arrested and questioned?
  2.  Why are prosecutors who protect criminals allowed to retire on a pension instead of a jail sentence? Will the connection between CPS and perpetrators, direct or indirect, be scrutinised now?
  3.  CPS closed many of the cases because ‘they used rape myths against the victims’. What is being done about this now? Will these cases be re-opened?
  4. Why did it take nine months in one case (as the Report says) for the CPS to make a decision to take no further action against one of the perpetrators? Will this case be re-opened now?

Police and Crime Commissioner

  1. He was aware of the scale of rape and other crime from at least 2005 as the Lead Member for Children and Young People (2005-2010).Why isn’t former South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright being investigated for criminal activities?

Rotherham council – a racket/mafia?

The Report says no councillors or police in the area can say they didn’t know what was going on. Risky Business reported on suspected family or business connections between politicians and perpetrators.

  1. The report refers to rumours that some councillors are related to some of the perpetrators. That is easy to establish. Which ones?
  2. The media has highlighted that ex Deputy Leader Jahangir Akhtar’s cousin was named in Jay’s report as a ‘boyfriend’ of up to 18 underage abuse victims. His son Tanveer is a constable serving in South Yorkshire Police. Cllr Shankat Asli has a relative serving 22 years in prison for flooding the area with ecstasy.  
    Are there others? What is the connection between councillors and perpetrators? Was money passing hands?  
  3. Did the police investigate these allegations? Is this being investigated now?
  4. Why were no minutes kept in 2005, when the present council leader [Roger Stone] chaired a group to ‘take forward’ the above issues raised by Risky Business? Is there no legal requirement to keep minutes of council meetings? Is he being investigated now?
  5. Council Leader in 2006 Roger Stone told a Tory councillor not to publicly raise concerns raised by his constituents about child exploitation, and that they were being dealt with by police. He has now resigned.Will his pension be withdrawn? Will he be investigated?

Social Services

  1. How can care workers not intervene and stop this mass rape? Isn’t the public paying them to care? Why didn’t they blow the whistle, for example say publicly that the refusal of police to prosecute sexual abuse of girls in their care is making their job impossible?
  2. Why are social workers now not demanding the prosecution of the rapists and the professionals who covered for them?
  3. Some girls have complained that their babies have been taken into care.Why are social services punitively removing babies from young vulnerable women rather than offering them the support and resources they need to care for their children?

Home Office

  1. Why when the HO was informed did no one take any action?

Children’s Charities

There are many big children’s charities in England: ChildLine, Barnardos, Save the Children, Children’s Society, National Children’s Bureau, Children in Need 

  1. Did they know? If not, why not? If yes, what did they do?If they didn’t do anything, why not?

Read more: key points from Dr Jay’s report

A Summary of issues raised in the ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013)’ by Dr Alexis Jay, issued in August 2014.

Download a pdf of the full Report here
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013) 

Good Press report in the Telegraph

This striking report is a breakthrough but leaves many questions unanswered.  See WAR’s Questions to the Home Affairs Committee.

Refusal to Investigate and Prosecute

The Report says that over 1,400 girls suffered multiple crimes including: rape, child abduction, threats with guns, being given Class A drugs and alcohol, witness intimidation such as serious injury to themselves and other members of their families. This has been known by council social services and police since at least 2004, perhaps even since the late 1990s.

“At an operational level, the police gave no priority to CSE [child sexual exploitation], regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime.

“Further stark evidence came in 2002, 2003 and 2006 with three reports known to the police and the council, which could not have been clearer in their description of the situation in Rotherham. The first of these reports was effectively suppressed because some senior officers disbelieved the data it contained. This had led to suggestions of cover-up. The other two reports set out the links between child sexual exploitation and drugs, guns and criminality in the borough. These reports were ignored and no action was taken to deal with the issues that were identified in them.”

No councillors or police in the area can say they didn’t know what was going on, following explicit reports by Risky Business to council meetings in 2004 and 2005 naming 50 perpetrators, including names of taxi firms, individual taxi drivers, and takeaways, and addresses where rape took place, yet no concerted action followed for years. Some interviewees told the Report writer they suspected family or business connections with taxi firms, takeaways and hotels where the girls were raped, but police said there was no evidence of this.

The Director of Education 2001-2005 raised concerns with police three times, after the heads of three schools had told her of girls being picked up at the school gates by taxi drivers for abuse. “Police watched the schools in unmarked cars but the problem persisted.” “… she described how she was shown a map of the north of England overlaid with various crime networks including ‘Drugs’, ‘Guns’, and ‘Murder’. She was told that the Police were only interested in putting resources into catching ‘the ring leaders’ who perpetrated these crimes”. . . “if they were caught, her local problems would cease.”  (pp 103-4)

The police and children’s services dramatically reduced the number of girls being monitored so that only tiny numbers of girls were identified as at risk of sexual exploitation.  “The Police reason for removing several girls from monitoring was they were pregnant or had given birth. All looked after children were removed from the list.” Risky Business challenged this decision.  (pp 104-5)

“…Between 2007-2013, the Police undertook a series of operations, jointly coordinated and designed to investigate cases of suspected child sexual exploitation, although only one resulted in prosecution and convictions … It ended in 2010 with 5 convictions.” (p 4)

“…Operation Chard in 2011 led to abduction notices and 11 arrests but no convictions.”

Child S, aged 17, was murdered – police dismissed it as an unconnected ‘honour killing’ by her boyfriend jealous of her having sex with other men. He was convicted. Her sister had been in care and was known to have been groomed.

Crown Prosecution Service

The Report says that the employees of the CPS dealing with CSE before 2010 have now retired.

CPS closed many of the cases because ‘they used rape myths against the victims’.

It took nine months in one case for the CPS to make a decision to take no further action against one of the perpetrators.

Rotherham councillors

The Report says no councillors or police in the area can say they didn’t know what was going on. Risky Business reported on suspected family or business connections between politicians and perpetrators.

No minutes were kept in 2005, when Council Leader Roger Stone chaired a group to ‘take forward’ the above issues raised by Risky Business.

Council Leader in 2006 Roger Stone told a Tory councillor not to publicly raise concerns raised by his constituents about child exploitation, and that they were being dealt with by police.

Police and Crime Commissioner

PCC Shaun Wright was aware of the scale of rape and other crime from at least 2005 as the Lead Member for Children and Young People (2005-2010).

A question of priorities

A lot of the girls were in care; why is their safety considered worth less than others?

Prostitution has been used as an excuse to ‘blame’ these rape victims by claiming it was a ‘lifestyle choice’. But many of the girls were under aged 14 at the time, and were victims of rape or paying for sex with an underage girl. When they tried to get help from police, social workers or others in authority, they were not only denied help but criminalised, as were loved ones who tried to get the rapes to stop.

Race and ethnicity were used as an excuse to justify the lack of action against the perpetrators. The Report repeats claims that the authorities feared accusations of racism if they took action.  This presumes that the Asian community would stand with rapists rather than victims, which is a blatant piece of racism by the police, the council, politicians and social services. The Asian community was outraged by the perpetrators and the way victims were treated.

Since the Report was published Asian women and girls have publicly stated that Asian girls were also being raped by adults.

What were the police doing instead of investigating and arresting child rapists? S Yorkshire is the same police force found to have been acting illegally at Orgreave during the miners’ strike (1984-5) and Hillsborough.