Rotherham abuse survivor who helped expose scandal up for national award

Rotherham abuse victim 'Jessica'
Rotherham abuse victim 'Jessica'
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The Rotherham abuse survivor who helped bring a evil grooming gang to justice and expose the town’s abuse scandal has been shortlisted for a major award.

The woman known as ‘Jessica’ has been shortlisted in the positive role model category at the National Diversity Awards for her campaigning work in helping other victims of child sexual exploitation.

Jessica’s account to The Times in August 2013 of her abuse at the hands of Arshid Hussain resulted in the start of major criminal inquiry known as Operation Clover that eventually resulted in six members of a grooming gang being jailed for over 100 years as other victims came forward.

Her story also led to Rotherham Council commissioning Professor Alexis Jay to carry out an inquiry which found at least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited in the town between 1997 and 2013, with major failings by the local authority and police in protecting victims from abusers.

Jessica said she was delighted to have been nominated for the award following her campaigning work to prevent other young girls going through the same experiences she had as a child.

She said: “I have campaigned for three years speaking about my abuse around the world in hundreds of interviews to bring awareness and to encourage others to come forward.

“I have helped change local licensing policies which will now be reviewed nationally.

“I’ve also worked alongside professionals and agencies to shape better services and continue to do so.

“I feel extremely honoured to be nominated for this award and feel it is a positive step forward for survivors and Rotherham.”

The award winners will be announced at a special ceremony taking place on September 16.

News of her nomination comes after Professor Jay was appointed as the new chair of an independent national inquiry into child abuse cases. She replaces Dame Lowell Goddard, who resigned as chair last week.