Petition calls for child sex abuse investigations into council and police chiefs

Alexis Jay and her report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham
Alexis Jay and her report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham

A petition has been launched calling for investigations into police and council chiefs in charge during the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.

Professor Alexis Jay, commissioned by Rotherham Council to write a report on the handling of child sexual exploitation in the town, found that around 1,400 children were abused by men of largely Pakistani heritage, between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority failed to act.

The report, published in 2014, described the abuse as 'appalling' and said it involved vulnerable girls being raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities, abducted, beaten and intimidated.

Failings were identified in both Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police for the way the issue was dealt with.

But this week, the findings of six extra reports into specific elements of the scandal affecting the council were published yet failed to identify anyone who could be held to account.

Separate investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into South Yorkshire Police are due to conclude next year.

One sex abuse survivor, Elizabeth, who launched the online petition calling for senior council and police bosses to be investigated, said she is 'devastated' that the latest reports into the scandal failed to hold anyone accountable.

She said: "I am one of the 1,400 'survivors' from the Rotherham abuse scandal, until Wednesday when I and 1,400 other girls feel we have become victims once again.

"I am starting this petition to demand on behalf of 1,400 survivors and I, that a criminal investigation be opened into the previous senior management team of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and also the senior management team of South Yorkshire Police.

"We have waited and waited for 16 long, hard, anxious years to receive an answer, as to why and who from Rotherham Council allowed our childhoods to be so cruelly taken from us and totally destroyed.

"Their answer and at a cost of £440,000? No-one will be held accountable. Why?

"We are totally devastated and we have every right to know who ignored us and why. How could they sit back and do absolutely nothing for years and years when they knew exactly what was happening to us, and allowing the rape and horrific abuse of 1,400 children, not forgetting the pain and suffering that our families suffered knowing they were absolutely powerless to help us.

"We and our families need some closure from this living nightmare and the knowledge that those responsible for ignoring our horrific abuse will finally to be held accountable for failing us as vulnerable children."

The petition, signed by over 2,500 people, is to be delivered to Prime Minister Theresa May.