More sackings and resignations need to follow Shaun Wright’s departure, a victim of Rotherham’s child sexual exploitation scandal has demanded.
The woman, who is among 25 victims taking legal action against Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police, welcomed Mr Wright’s decision to go – but said others ought still to follow him.
It comes after Mr Wright stepped down yesterday, claiming the focus on him was ‘detracting from the important issue’ of bringing abusers to justice.
Victim Jessica – not her real name – told The Star: “It should have been done when the report first came out. He has completely dragged things out.
“The longer he stayed the more he was putting victims and survivors through.”
She added: “This is just the beginning. Joyce Thacker (head of children’s services)still has a job. There are a lot more people still to go.
“Everyone was pointing the finger at Wright. But there were loads of them involved.
“It takes more than one person to run things. It is going to need a new outlook on everything, I think.
“They need to help rebuild Rotherham, getting people going into schools, and they need more police officers and social workers.”
Jessica claims she was groomed into a two-year sexual relationship with a man 10 years her senior – something she says police knew about.
She said the abuse started in 1999 when she was 14 and, despite her family’s repeated complaints to the police, little was done.
She said today she is glad the Jay Report, which revealed at least 1,400 children in the town had been victims of sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, had brought Rotherham’s problems to light.
Mr Wright’s departure was also welcomed by Joanne Turner, the mother of another abuse victim.
Joanne, who confronted Mr Wright over his failure to quit last week at a heated police and crime panel meeting, said: “It is the best thing that could have happened for Rotherham.
“I don’t think he has stepped down for the victims. He has stepped down for the next person to be castigated.”
Mr Wright was the councillor in charge of children’s services for Rotherham between 2005 and 2010, and had faced repeated calls from senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, to quit.
Rather than standing down as PCC, he initially elected to quit the Labour party and remain as an independent commissioner.
Mr Wright had said he was the ‘best person’ to be PCC because of his experience in dealing with child sexual exploitation – but finally bowed to the pressure to quit yesterday. He said: “I feel it is now right to step down from the position of Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, for the sake of those victims, for the sake of the public of South Yorkshire, and to ensure the important issues outlined in the report about tackling child sexual exploitation can be discussed and considered in full and without distraction.”
News of his departure has been welcomed by local and national politicians.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “People in South Yorkshire will welcome the news that the police and crime commissioner has finally done the decent thing and stood aside.
“The important thing now is for South Yorkshire Police to concentrate on going after the perpetrators of these terrible crimes, so the victims can finally see justice.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “It is right Shaun Wright has resigned. He was in a position of responsibility when the abuse scandal happened. Our focus now must be to listen to the victims and learn from the past to ensure this can never happen again.”
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I am pleased Shaun Wright has heeded the calls from his local community for him to resign.
“It is right that where people failed in their duty they should take responsibility.
“The police and local council failed the victims of these awful crimes and failed the people of Rotherham.
“Police and Crime Commissioners are accountable to their local electorate. It is now for the people of South Yorkshire to elect someone who can provide local leadership, ensure the lessons of these dreadful cases are applied, and make sure the victims get the justice they deserve.”
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was ‘delighted’ but added: “I am extremely frustrated it has taken Shaun Wright three weeks to resign, as this has detracted from the real story, the victims.”