Support service for Rotherham survivors of child sexual exploitation to be in place by Autumn
New support services for child sexual abuse victims and survivors in Rotherham should be in place by the Autumn, the council has announced.
Council leader Chris Read said public consultations were taking place which would help guide the form new services would take, with a tendering process expected in the summer to identify the most suitable provider, with the expectation the service will be operational later in the year.
“As part of the consideration for a new refreshed specification for survivors of CSE, the council undertook consultations for a full needs analysis,” he said.
“There will be a further opportunity for public engagement and things will be developed. We plan to undertake this consultation for 30 days in March then this council and partners will go to open tender in May with the intention of a start date before the end of the year.”
Coun Read spoke at a full meeting of Rotherham Council, where public questions were raised about progress with the issue.
Speaker Liam Harron said: “I don’t think people appreciate the message sent out by adult services by all these delays. It is such a long time.”
He also raised concerns that some survivors of CSE may baulk at taking part in consultations for fear of being identified, with some choosing to remain ‘hidden away’.
Coun Read said some of the delay had been caused through illness and added: “We were keen to make sure we were asking questions in a way people could engage with. It should be an open process people should be able to come forward who are not engaged with services at the moment.”
One survivor attended the meeting and told councillors: “Whenever we come forward with anything we don’t get answers. When we do get answers, it is not enough of an answer.”
Mr Harron said the review could be dated back to late 2017 when two survivors of CSE presented a petition to the council asking “for meaningful consultation about their needs”.
Coun Read said it was important to ensure the new arrangements met users’ needs, but acknowledged there had been delays.