Rotherham child sex abusers moved into open prisons and free to walk streets again without survivors being told

The Government is being urged to act over claims some perpetrators of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham were moved into open prisons without survivors being told.

By Claire Lewis
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 1:21 pm

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion claims two of her constituents, who were abused and exploited by men when they were children, were not told that their abusers had been moved to open prisons while serving their sentences.

Open prison regimes allow inmates back into the community to work as part of their reintegration back into society before they are officially released.

Ms Champion claims that despite being entitled to notification under the Victim Contact Scheme, neither survivor was contacted ahead of hearings to decide on prison transfers.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion

In one case, the survivor was notified two months after the transfer had taken place.

Rotherham’s child exploitation scandal was made public in August 2014 when an independent report by Professor Alexa Jay revealed that around 1,400 children had been abused by men of predominantly Pakistani heritage over a 16-year period while those in authority failed to act.

Ms Champion said: “It is outrageous that, despite their obligations, the authorities failed to notify survivors that those who abused them in such an awful manner as children may soon be walking the streets. Imagine the trauma of seeing these criminals in a supermarket when you thought they were in a cell?

“The fact that I had two near identical cases brought to me, despite assurances I received from the Government after highlighting the first, shows just how dysfunctional the current system is. The Government is continuing to let down victims of crime in Rotherham and across the country.”

Sarah has tabled an amendment to the Police and Crime Bill which would impose a statutory duty on authorities to consult with victims of crime ahead of any decision on parole or transfer to open conditions.

She added: “Something is going horribly wrong. We have a system in which, twice in six months, victims of the most serious crime have been let down by the state. I am one MP and I have had two cases in the past six months, so it concerns me that this is happening all over the country, but survivors would not think to go to their MP to get it raised.”