Reports Suggest Authorities Made Aware Of Rotherham Abuse In 2003 And 2006

No Action Was Taken To Investigate Sexual Exploitation Reports

06.05.2015

Specialist abuse lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say reports suggesting local authorities in Rotherham were warned of sexual exploitation in the town are concerning and a thorough investigation should be carried out to understand how these issues were not dealt with at the time.

According to media reports, following a Freedom of Information request, authorities in Rotherham were warned about exploitation of young people in 2003 and again in 2006.

The Sheffield Star reported that the two reports, which also detailed sexual exploitation in Sheffield were sent to senior police officers and local authorities, but no action was taken to investigate the concerns.

A report published in 2013 into sexual abuse and exploitation of young people in the town found that 1,400 children were abused by gangs of men between 1997 and 2013.

Luke Daniels, a Partner and specialist abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: 

Expert Opinion
“These reports suggesting authorities were made aware of the problems in Sheffield and Rotherham years before any action was taken are extremely concerning.

“It is very worrying that little action seems to have been taken to fully investigate the concerns raised more than ten years ago. It is crucial the local authorities and police investigate why nothing was done and explain to survivors of abuse why they were not protected by the services put in place to do so.

“Understandably these reports will add further insult to those who have survived abuse in Rotherham and Sheffield and it is vital they are given the answers they deserve about the lack of action following the 2003 and 2006 reports.

“Had action been taken by police and local authorities at the time the abuse suffered by children in South Yorkshire may have been prevented.

“While the way sexual abuse and exploitation is dealt with has changed dramatically over recent years, it is absolutely vital survivors are given the answers they deserve and reassurances that this lack of action is a thing of the past and young people are now being provided with the help and support they need.”
Luke Daniels, Partner

Further reports have suggested that sexual abuse and exploitation of young people in the Midlands bear many similarities with Rotherham. The West Midlands Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation report highlighted a number of areas where sexual exploitation and abuse is more concentrated.

The report indicated that between January and June 2014, 210 children were identified by councils as having been ‘sexually exploited or at risk of sexual exploitation’, but that a lack of processes to identify those at risk means many more cases may be undocumented.

If you have been the victim of child abuse, our child abuse solicitors could help you get justice and claim compensation. Call 0370 150 100 to talk confidentially to someone about making a claim or visit our Abuse & Criminal Injury Claims page for more information.

Luke added: 

Expert Opinion
“It is very concerning to hear that some areas of the Midlands are going through a rise in sexual abuse and exploitation of children, with similarities to the recent events in Rotherham. The first priority should be ensuring survivors have the help and support they need to deal with the experiences they have had.

“It is also critical that the processes and measures in place in the region to detect and prevent sexual exploitation are reviewed and any failings quickly rectified to reduce the number of young people subjected to abuse and exploitation in the region.”
Luke Daniels, Partner