Rotherham child sexual exploitation survivor: “We deserved answers and we deserved justice and we got none of it”

A survivor of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has branded a report into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of CSE cases a “whitewash”.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 10:27 am

The anonymous survivor, known as Elizabeth, said that she would like to have seen more accountability following a police watchdog report which was released yesterday (June 22).

The report into Operation Linden by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, investigated South Yorkshire Police’s handling of allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Investigators found “significant failures” by SYP, which was “not ready at that time to deal with the nature and scale of the problem in Rotherham.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The report into Operation Linden, conducted by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, investigated South Yorkshire Police’s handling of alllegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. PICTURE POSED BY MODEL

The operation covered 265 separate allegations made by 51 complainants, and the watchdog investigated the conduct of 47 officers.

Eight were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and six had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

Read More

Read More
No officers lost jobs over Rotherham CSE scandal following £6m investigation

In many cases, say the watchdog, officers had retired and, due to legislation in place at the time, could not face disciplinary proceedings.

Five of these officers received sanctions ranging from management action up to a final written warning.

A sixth faced a misconduct hearing arranged by the force earlier this year and the case was found not proven by the independent panel.

Survivor Elizabeth, who has written a book about her experience, said: “It’s nothing that we don’t know.

Elizabeth praised the report for highlighting female perpetrators of CSE, but added that the survivors’ complaints were “damning”.

“That’s the reason I decided to write my book, to highlight the fact that female perpetrators did play a role in Rotherham,” added Elizabeth.

“I find it quite disrespectful of our actual experiences the fact that no-one’s been held accountable.

“There’s some damning, damning complaints of survivors in there, and I don’t think we’ve had the right justice for it at all.

“We have to live a life of hell. People say that here’s life after abuse but we’ll always wear these shoes.

“It wasn’t our fault, we were children. We didn’t even have a proper education because of their failings.

“What was the point, because they’ve highlighted our experiences, but there’s been no consequences.

“I’m not entirely convinced that South Yorkshire Police will implement those recommendations.

“All in all, I just think it’s just been a whitewashing tactic at the expense of survivors and families, and our experiences.

“We deserved answers and we deserved justice and we got none of it.”

Steve Noonan, IOPC director of major investigations, said: “I accept that some people will be disappointed about individual outcomes.

“We identified very early on that this was a systemic issue for South Yorkshire Police, and we’ve identified what those systemic issues are.

“We’ve left no stone unturned. It’s been a very detailed and thorough investigation to understand what went wrong, why, what has changed and what still needs to change.”

Mr Noonan praised the bravery of survivors in coming forward, adding: “without them, we would not have been able to produce this piece of work.””

“Lots of survivors did tell us that they wanted this not to happen to anybody again, and we have done everything we can to identify all of the issues.

“South Yorkshire Police are making recommendations, real, meaningful, long lasting recommendations that will change lives to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

“And that is because of their bravery in coming forward and telling us what happened.

“I understand why they may be disappointed. We wanted to deal with the systemic issues and implement real change and that’s what we believe we’ve done here with the learning and recommendations.”

DCC Tim Forber of South Yorkshire Police said: “I wholly understand the disappointment victims and survivors must feel today.

“They have waited eight long years for this report and its findings are that fourteen officers have cases to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.

“The IOPC were not able to identify some of those officers and some had already retired.

“Two people have faced gross misconduct hearings which resulted in one receiving a final written warning, and in the other case an independent legally qualified chair of the misconduct panel found that in fact, there was no case to answer.

“I want to make clear that this report rightly comes from an independent body responsible for police complaints. SYP has no influence of those findings as this would be entirely inappropriate.

“We did throughout the course of the investigation, throw our doors open to IOPC. Investigators had access to all of the policies and systems in our possession.

“All of the recommendations of the Jay Report and the Op Linden report and the many other reports from over these years, have been accepted and progressed.

“I know this will bring little comfort to those who have suffered so considerably but the bravery they showed in continuing to speak out has led to wholesale change in our response to CSE.

“They have played a key role in protecting those who could have fallen victim in the future. I only wish we had heard their voices at the first opportunity and prevented the harm they and others suffered. For this, we will forever remain deeply sorry.”