Hundreds attend special service for victims of Rotherham abuse scandal

Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft at a service of prayer at Rotherham Minster for the victims of the child sexual exploitation scandal. Picture: Andrew Roe

Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft at a service of prayer at Rotherham Minster for the victims of the child sexual exploitation scandal. Picture: Andrew Roe

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More than 250 people attended a special church services for the victims of child grooming in Rotherham.

Local churches arranged the service at Rotherham Minister to pray for the future of the town and those who have been directly affected by child sexual exploitation.

The evening took the theme of ‘Rotherham Forward, Not Backward’ and include presentations by community leaders and experts on the current situation in the town and how improvements could be made.

Among those who spoke were South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings and Jayne Senior, former manager of the Risky Business outreach project which was one of the first organisations to warn of the town’s grooming problems.

Canon David Bliss, vicar of Rotherham, said: “It was a very special event and I think people really valued what was going on.

“People talked about their area of speciality or are of concern and there were able to say where we are now and where can we go forward. Following the short presentations, ministers followed with a prayer for that particular area of concern. People really appreciated coming together.”

The event on Tuesday night was opened and closed by the Bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft.

The service followed the recent publication of the Casey report, which found Rotherham Council was still ‘in denial’ about the extent of child abuse in the town and resulted in the resignation of the authority’s entire cabinet.

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