Rotherham Child Exploitation: Experts Warn Issue Is ‘Tip Of Iceberg’

Debate Continues After Release Of Report


Discussion and debate around the issue of child sex exploitation is continuing following the release of a damning report into problems identified in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, with many campaigners warning that more revelations related to other areas are expected in the future.

A report commissioned by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council found that at least 1,400 young people were victims of abuse across the 16-year period, with serious concerns raised regarding the efforts of authorities to tackle the issue.

The findings have put another spotlight on the problems and follow a report issued two years ago by the Office for the Children’s Commissioner, which said 2,409 children were confirmed as victims of sexual exploitation in England between August 2010 and October 2011.

With high-profile cases of exploitation being identified in other towns such as Oxford, Rochdale and Peterborough in recent years, researchers and charities believe the latest revelations may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Dr Helen Beckett, from the International Centre which researches the issue, told the Guardian: “When you look at the Rotherham report – nature of the abuse, the failures – you could write the same report about any number of different places.”

Expert Opinion
The revelations related to Rotherham have shocked the country, but it is only natural that attention now turns to the wider implications of these findings and whether these problems should be viewed in isolation.

"If any good can come of the horrific issues which have been brought to light, it is that such findings can be used by other local authorities to review their own policies and processes to ensure that safeguarding systems are working effectively to protect young people in their communities.

"It is vital that, following the release of this report, that children affected by such issues in other locations across the country have the confidence that their voices will be heard and authorities will take any allegations raised seriously.

"Very worrying reports of systemic abuse have been raised and it is vital that efforts are now made to not only confront but tackle this issue as quickly and thoroughly as possible."
Luke Daniels, Partner