ex­ploited in UK town

The Covington News - - WORLD -

LON­DON (AP) — A new re­port con­cluded Tues­day that some 1,400 chil­dren were sex­u­ally ex­ploited in one north­ern Eng­land town— a damming ac­count of the col­lec­tive fail­ure by au­thor­i­ties to pre­vent chil­dren as young as 11 from be­ing beaten, raped and traf­ficked.

Re­port au­thor Alexis Jay cited ap­palling acts of vi­o­lence between 1997 and 2013 in Rother­ham, a town of some 250,000. The in­de­pen­dent re­port came af­ter a se­ries of con­vic­tions of sex of­fend­ers in the re­gion and ground-break­ing re­ports in the Times of Lon­don that prompted the lo­cal coun­cil to launch an in­quiry.

“The col­lec­tive fail­ures of po­lit­i­cal and of­fi­cer lead­er­ship were bla­tant,” said Jay, a for­mer chief so­cial work ad­viser to the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment. “From the be­gin­ning, there was grow­ing ev­i­dence that child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion was a se­ri­ous prob­lem in Rother­ham.”

At­ten­tion first fell on Rother­ham in 2010 when five men re­ceived lengthy jail terms af­ter con­vic­tions of groom­ing teens for sex. Later, in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­gan into why au­thor­i­ties failed to act even af­ter front­line so­cial work­ers sug­gested things were amiss.

Po­lice “re­garded many child vic­tims with con­tempt,” Jay said, adding that the first re­port that de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion in Rother­ham was “ef­fec­tively sup­pressed” be­cause se­nior of­fi­cers did not be­lieve the data.

Even more damming was the fact that vic­tims de­scribed the per­pe­tra­tors as “Asian” and yet the coun­cil failed to en­gage with the town’s Pak­istani com­mu­nity.

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