‘Grooming victims’ to sue Rotherham Council

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright.
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Four women are suing Rotherham Council for ‘systemic failures to protect them from sexual abuse by predatory men when they were children’.

South Yorkshire solicitors Switalskis said a number of women had instructed its lawyers to take legal action.

David Greenwood, of Switalskis, acting for some of the abused girls, said: “It is important to remember that at the time of the abuse they were children under the age of 16 and could not legally consent.”

The revelation comes after fresh allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, already rocked by revelations about the grooming of teenage girls.

A national newspaper claimed a teenager was allowed extensive contact with a violent adult offender who was suspected of grooming young girls to use and sell for sex while she was in the care of social services.

It said the girl first met the man in 1999 when she was 14 and he was 24.

South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright said today: “The approach taken today is vastly improved, and as commissioner, my determination is to ensure that the approach that is now being taken by those agencies in responding to and investigating allegations of such crimes is consummately professional.

“I will be seeking assurances from the chief constable and other agencies that all allegations of such crimes are thoroughly investigated, that victims are fully supported and that this process is underpinned by the most robust and thorough processes and policies.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary is about to review the approach being taken by all police forces including South Yorkshire towards child sexual exploitation issues and I will be scrutinising its findings.

“The need to protect the most vulnerable in society is the single most important priority for me. To that end, I have invested an additional £500,000 to provide extra resources to South Yorkshire Police to help combat child sexual exploitation and have awarded a number of grants to further our work in this critical field.”

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said following Operation Yewtree – the investigation that followed revelations about Jimmy Savile – the authority asked South Yorkshire Police to thoroughly review all historical cases that may be linked to child sexual exploitation.

He said: “That review is ongoing and continues with a number of live and ongoing investigations.”