I’m reading the BBC live summary of the Rotherham report. It’s horrifying.
14:01: Evidence of the “appalling” abuse of at least 1,400 children in Rotherham, South Yorkshire over 16 years has been laid bare in a new report.
14:01: The inquiry was carried out by Professor Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work in Scotland.
14:02: Her independent inquiry into how social services in Rotherham dealt with allegations of child sex abuse between 1997 and 2013 found girls as young as 11 were raped multiple times, trafficked to other towns and cities, beaten and doused in petrol.
14:04: The report, which has been published in the last few minutes, says: “The police and the council both failed in their duties to protect some of the most vulnerable children in the borough.”
And yet, they don’t work for the Vatican.
14:08: In the report, Prof Jay highlights a “collective failure” by the authorities to stop the abuse.
14:08: It also notes a “clear evidence of child sexual exploitation being disbelieved, suppressed or ignored”.
14:10: The report was commissioned by Rotherham Council in 2013. It followed the jailing of five men from Rotherham for sexual offences against girls in 2010.
14:11: Rotherham Council is expected to respond to the report later. Last year, the council’s chief executive, Martin Kimber, apologised to victims who had been “let down” by its “systemic failure”.
14:12: The inquiry found that a report highlighting the abuse was submitted to the police and the council in 2002, but “was effectively suppressed”.
Suppressed. So the Rotherham police and council acted like the Vatican even though they don’t work for the Vatican.
14:16: Councillors and council officials were told about the abuse in 2004 and 2005 “in the most explicit terms”, the report found. But it highlighted evidence of a “macho, sexist and bullying culture” within the council, which stopped it providing an effective response.
14:17: The report found that no priority was given by South Yorkshire Police to the issue of child sexual exploitation.
14:18: The 1,400 victims identified in the report include both girls and a small number of boys, Prof Jay clarifies in response to one question.
14:21: Prof Jay says there was evidence that senior people in the council and police wanted to “play down” the “ethnic dimensions” of the sexual exploitation for fear of being regarded as racist.
Macho, sexist, bullying, and anti-racist – or not anti-racist but unwilling to be regarded as racist. Impressive.
From the report:
No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.
In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were 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.
Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
And it was all just buried.