Police and council make six-figure compensation payments to child sex abuse victims in Rotherham

Rotherham was at the centre of a child sexual exploitation scandal
Rotherham was at the centre of a child sexual exploitation scandal
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Six-figure compensation payments have been made to some victims of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal.

Lawyers representing the first wave of victims to sue South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council confirmed that some settlements had been reached.

A total of five claims have been settled so far from the 58 received by the council and police force.

The amounts received are believed to be five or six figure sums.

Switalskis Solicitors, which is representing 75 victims, said the compensation claims relate to failures of the police and council to protect vulnerable girls from gangs of predatory paedophiles in Rotherham.

A report by Professor Alexis Jay in 2014 revealed that 1,400 vulnerable girls were abused by men of largely Pakistani heritage between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority failed to act.

Girls were raped, beaten, trafficked around the country, threatened and groomed by the gangs without bring prosecuted.

Subsequent criminal trials have resulted in 13 offenders being given combined sentences of 199 years, while the National Crime Agency is currently carrying out its largest-ever investigation into child sexual exploitation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is also investigating complaints against 30 former and current South Yorkshire Police officers over the issue.

David Greenwood, head of the child abuse department at Switalskis Solicitors, said: “My team of lawyers has been working constructively with lawyers for Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police. In a small number of cases so far compensation has been paid.

“The hope is that settlements will be reached in all cases without the need for formal court proceedings. We continue to analyse the action or inaction of the council and police. I am unable to comment on the value of settlements without clients’ permission."

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “Since 2014, South Yorkshire Police have received a number of claims and are working with the complainants and their legal representatives in respect of these.”

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said: “A number of claims relating to child sexual exploitation have been received and several of these have now been settled, alongside South Yorkshire Police.

"As the authority is still in the process of dealing with outstanding claims it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”