A report commissioned by Rotherham Metropolitan Council has revealed disturbing cases of historical sexual exploitation of children in the council.
The report published today was commissioned in october last year and it looked into cases dating back up to 16 years looking into previous cases and interviewing victims, parents and social workers.
In a series of failings by the council and police, the report details extensive exploitation of over 1, 400 children with horrendous accounts of rape and trafficking of children, some only 11 years old at the time the crimes were committed.
Victims were said to have been enticed in person or over the internet by gifts, drugs or money with the perpetrators targeting children who were already vulnerable or in the care of the council.
A third of the children who were exploited were also said to be already known to social services on account of neglect and protection.
The systemic series of failings involved Police officers ignoring reports of the cases even when faced with clear and graphic evidence by ‘Risky Business’, a body set up to safeguard and look into sexual exploitation of children.
A report submitted by the body as far back as the 90’s was largely ignored by authorities and a subsequent one in 2004 was again shelved aside even though it contained the names of some of the perpetrators as well as serious crimes against children.
Part of the reasons for the years of neglect is said to be linked to the fact that officers looked the other way as they didn’t want to be seen as racist because almost all of the perpetrators were said to be of Pakistani origin.
In a further twist, it was found that “senior people wanted to play down ethnic dimensions and were confused about what to say for fear of being termed racist” as well as the concerns that it might compromise police operations if issue was publicly discussed.
In some cases, victims were even blamed and dismissed by authorities.
Even though more resources have been committed to social care in the council, the report says that the trend continues till date with up to 55 cases reported so far this year and 157 cases of sexual exploitation in children last year.
Many of the victims are said to be living in the legacy of the abuse with many having been discarded by their abusers by the age of 16. Many reportedly became addicted to drinks and drugs and self harm driven by self loathing and guilt.
The leader of Rotherham Council has now stepped down after taking responsible for the failings of the council over the past decade.