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Monday 22nd September 2014
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Abuse Scandal 'Happening All Over Country'

Wednesday, 27th August 2014 08:27

The child exploitation scandal in which 1,400 youngsters were abused over 16 years is not "peculiar" to Rotherham, according to a leading children's charity.

A damning report on abuse in the South Yorkshire town detailed examples of 11-year-olds being gang raped and children forced to watch violent sex abuse.

Barnardo's was called to the town by police last year to tackle the problem - but the charity says it is also working with other councils to "learn lessons from the past".

Chief executive Javed Khan told Sky News: "Barnardo's is working very closely with that council and many other councils across the country.

"We're trying to help those professionals learn lessons from the past.

"This is happening all over the country - it isn't just peculiar to Rotherham.

"It's important that they learn the lessons from the past, work with agencies like ours that have experience.

"We work with more than 2,000 children who've been sexually exploited every year. We know how to spot the signs and put it right."

The report on abuse in Rotherham, between 1997 and 2013, said authorities in the town "could and should" have done more to stop the abuse.

But officials did not listen to children trying to report it, the report said.

Council leader Roger Stone resigned after the report was published - and there have been calls for South Yorkshire's Police Commissioner to follow.

Shaun Wright was elected in 2012 - but his previous role as a councillor put him in charge of children's services between 2005 and 2010.

However, Mr Khan insists it is important the victims are not forgotten amid the "recriminations".

"I'm sure Shaun Wright is doing some deep thinking about what he did and what he could have done differently - many other people will be doing as well," he said.

"Apart from the recriminations, the important thing is that we learn the lessons about how to protect children.

"Whatever actions need to be taken, let's focus on the victims and make sure this never, ever happens again to children who need our support.

"I'm not sitting on the fence. Children were failed. But the report says children's services in Rotherham are fit for purpose now - that's what interests me.

"What we're trying to do is work with the schools, work with the police, work with the social services, so they're more aware and more able to spot the signs of children who need our support."