‘About 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period, according to a report that concluded “it is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered”.
The report on events in the town in South Yorkshire, between 1997 and 2013, found that in more than a third of these cases the youngsters were already known to child protection agencies. It said there had been “blatant” collective failures by the council’s leadership.
Council leader Roger Stone said: “Having considered the report, I believe it is only right that I, as leader, take responsibility on behalf of the council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report and it is my intention to do so.
“For this reason, I have today agreed with my Labour group colleagues that I will be stepping down as leader with immediate effect.”
Despite Stone’s resignation, chief executive Martin Kimber said no council officers will face disciplinary action.
Prof Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, said she found examples of “children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone”.
Jay said: “They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.” She said she found girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.
The report said failures of the political and officer leadership of Rotherham council over the first 12 years she looked at were blatant, as the seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers and was not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire police. Jay said police “regarded many child victims with contempt”.’