Rotherham abuse: Senior MP demands resignations

Child sexual exploitation in Rotherham: At least 1,400 victims since 1997
Child sexual exploitation in Rotherham: At least 1,400 victims since 1997
Alex Stevenson By

Officers at Rotherham council should lose their jobs over the child sexual exploitation scandal which saw 1,400 young people victimised, Clive Betts has told Politics.co.uk.

The chair of the communities and local government committee, whose Sheffield South East constituency borders Rotherham, said the failure to implement child protection policies means at least one officer should join Labour's council leader Roger Stone in losing their job.

"Somebody somewhere in the officer structure should be held accountable," Betts said.

"It does seem to me the very nature of these serious issues means they are ones that senior officers would be dealing with. Questions have to be asked."


Alexis Jay, whose report covered the period from 1997 to 2013, concluded that until 2009 "the collective failures of political and officer leadership were blatant".

In his resignation statement, Stone – who had led the council in Rotherham since 2003 – said he had been "disgusted" by child sexual exploitation.

His departure was deemed to be "entirely appropriate" by Alexis Jay, whose report revealed the full extent of the child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Stone said: "It is a matter of great regret for me, as it is for many others, that so many people have been traumatised by child sexual exploitation here in Rotherham."

But Martin Kimber, who as chief executive is the leading civil servant on the council, made clear he had no intention of stepping aside.

He told journalists he had not been able to dismiss any of his staff because the report had not been specific enough to single out any individual.

Kimber has offered his "sincere apologies" to the victims, however.

Betts has now called on the Department for Communities and Local Government to intervene in order to help Rotherham council support the victims more effectively.

"The sensible reaction would be for the centre of government to say to Rotherham, 'what help can we offer you to ensure this is completely sorted out'?" he added.

"You've got hundreds of young people in Rotherham who are scarred, damaged by this. The council are going to need help supporting them."

The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was preparing a response to the Jay report, which noted that many children who were forced to watch abuse taking place were not included in the list of 1,400 direct victims.

Her report stated:

"Time and again we read in the files and other documents of children being violently raped, beaten, forced to perform sex acts in taxis and cars when they were being trafficked between towns, and serially abused by large numbers of men. Many children repeatedly self-harmed and some became suicidal. They suffered family breakdown and some became homeless. Several years after they had been abused, a disproportionate number were victims of domestic violence, had developed long-standing drug and alcohol addiction, and had parenting difficulties with their own children, resulting in child protection/children in need interventions. Some suffered post-traumatic stress and other emotional and psychological problems, often undiagnosed and untreated. Some experienced mental health problems."

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