Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal: Heartbreaking account from survivor - 'We had our rights taken away and were fed to the lions while the perpetrators ran free'

Councillors read out accounts from survivors of child sexual exploitation to a meeting of Rotherham’s full council meeting yesterday, whilst calling on the administration to tackle the problem.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 2:00 pm

During yesterday’s (November 10) full council meeting, Conservative councillors called on the Labour administration to review its internal procedures for handling reports of CSE, after alleging they had uncovered crimes in the borough.

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The Conservative group tabled a motion calling for the council to acknowledge that “CSE may be occurring on the same scale as in the past”, and to take action to tackle child sexual exploitation.

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Child sexual exploitation survivors had statements read out to Rotherham's full council meeting yesterday.

As part of the motion, councillors were asked to read accounts of child sexual exploitation from survivors, who criticised the Police and Crime Commissioner, and South Yorkshire Police’s handling of their cases.

Councillor Tim Baum-Dixon read an account from a CSA survivor, who criticised Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, for disputing claims that reports of CSE were not acted on.

“I’ve been asked to read the following statement from……the survivor of recent child sexual exploitation in her own feelings, and in her own words,” said Coun Baum-Dixon.

“The statement in the newspaper from the Police and Crime Commissioner completely denying that CSE exists in Rotherham is a message to us all that it’s not worth it or safe to speak up.

“It’s a case of, from the start, not being believed.”

In response to a report by Conservative councillors last week, alleging that the police’s reaction to reports of CSE in Rotherham has been “poor”, Dr Billings said that the information in the report was “so vague that little could be done with it”.

Conservative councillor Greg Reynolds read an account from a survivor of historic CSA, which stated: “It was like your worst nightmare times 100.

“When I look back at myself as that little girl, I can’t believe I am still here.

“The last seven years has been horrendous.

“Since the Jay report, going through trials, continuously seeing failings after failings, lack of support and lack of understanding.

“We never asked to be abused. We never asked to be failed. We had our rights taken away and were fed to the lions while the perpetrators ran free.

“One thing we deserve is to rebuild our lives. But the council isn’t helping us.”

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this article, please contact trained counsellors on the 24 hour helplines run by Childline on 0800 11 11 and the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.