Rotherham Abuse Victims Treated With Contempt
In the wake of the shocking revelation that more could and should have been done to prevent the sexual abuse of more than 1,400 children in Rotherham, the resignation of the leader of the town's co
Councillor Roger Stone made the announcement that he is stepping down with immediate effect minutes after the council's chief executive had insisted publicly to reporters that not one member of his staff would be facing disciplinary action, despite admitting that council workers had failed to protect vulnerable children.
The details of the abuse in Rotherham are shocking and yet, terribly, are beginning to sound all too familiar after similar high profile cases in Rochdale, Oxford and elsewhere.
Over a 16-year period in Rotherham children as young as 11 were gang raped, vulnerable youngsters were trafficked between towns, groomed over a period of years. In some cases children were doused with petrol. Threats were made to set them alight.
We know that almost all the victims told authorities the perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage.
We know that a major failing in Rotherham is that officials wanted to play down ethnicity dimensions for fear of being though racist. At no point did safeguarding teams contact leaders within the Pakistani community to discuss the issue of child abuse.
The report makes a series of recommendations. They include practices that should be obvious, ensuring there are up to date risk assessments of children affected by sexual abuse and ensuring authorities work together to tackle he problem.
These are practices that by the authorities' own admission should have been in place earlier.
In 2002, 2003 and again in 2006 reports were available to the council and police that detailed stark evidence "which could not have been clearer in their description of the situation in Rotherham".
Yet the sad truth is that authorities simply did not listen to the victims.
Children trying to seek help after suffering horrendous abuse were treated in some cases with contempt. Despite the fact that a third of the children were already known to authorities as being victims of neglect.
Gandhi once said that ?The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members?.
How then should Rotherham's safeguarding teams be judged?
(c) Sky News 2014