Rotherham Council has moved on from past failures and is committed to supporting victims of sexual abuse, its leader has said.
Coun Chris Read said the guilty verdicts in the abuse trial, in which several people were found guilty of a number of offences in Rotherham, were a ‘really important step forward’.
“We’ve waited a long time to see justice done in Rotherham and now for these young women who have had such terrible experiences we have finally begun to see that today,” he said.
Brothers Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults of teenagers in Rotherham. A third brother, Bannaras Hussain, 36, admitted 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the beginning of the trial.
Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.
Brothers Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, were cleared of all charges at Sheffield Crown Court.
During the trial, victims said they were ignored when they tried to speak about their abuse.
Coun Read said: “The failures are well documented. There were cultural failings, there were people who didn’t believe these young women, who thought they were trouble causers. There were a whole raft of failings by lots of people over a long period of time.
“I can’t seek to excuse any of those failings. All I can do is try to get the council right now so we don’t make those mistakes again.”
Coun Read said money had been spent on children’s services, and a major project was being run with Barnado’s. About £1m each year was being spent on a joint team including the police and health services to work with victims or high-risk people.
Coun Read said victims could trust the council.
“The services that are in place now are a world away from where they were even a year ago, and even then they had been developing from where they were. I’m not saying everything’s right in Rotherham. We are on a journey. But we’re absolutely determined to be the best that we possibly can at this, and I would say to people if they have got information, if they are worried about children being abused, come forward, give us that information and we will act on it.”