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.
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.