A CHILD sex abuse survivor said she was overwhelmed by the level of public support after thousands backed her call for a criminal probe into council and police officials.
More than 14,000 people have so far signed a petition demanding former Rotherham council managers and senior police officers be investigated for misconduct in connection with the town’s child sex scandal, including almost 5,000 in just one day.
It was set up last Thursday by a survivor, known as Elizabeth, after six reports concluded last Wednesday that no current or former manager should face disciplinary action for their conduct during the 1997 to 2013 covered by the Jay Report.
When closed, the online petition will be sent to Prime Minister Theresa May. Petitions with more than 10,000 signatures are entitled to a formal response from the Government.
“I am really overwhelmed by the number of people ready to make a stand with us,” said Elizabeth. “It’s absolutely amazing.
“I hope it will mean the Government take us seriously.
“It is going to take more than just a response for us to be satisfied.
“The best thing is I have heard from relatives of other survivors who have thanked me for giving them a voice.
“Politicians of all parties have signed and retweeted the petition but it’s not about politics, it’s about child abuse.”
Survivors and their relatives were outraged after the reports, costing £440,000, were published last Wednesday and there were angry exchanges during a three-and-a-half hour meeting at Rotherham Town Hall.
Elizabeth, whose real name cannot be used for legal reasons, described the outcome of the year-long investigation by law firm Gowling WLG as “absolutely diabolical”.
She said: “I was gutted to learn no-one will be held accountable.
“There was a debate about the scale of the problem but it does not matter if it’s one child or 1,000, there shouldn’t even be one.
“There have been eight reports now with the Jay and Casey Reports but these cannot be the last ones.
“They’ve spent all this money on new reports and they have just mirrored what Jay and Casey said. There’s no difference at all.
“There has to be grounds for a criminal investigation.”
Elizabeth said she felt the new reports had made her and others feel like victims again, particularly when they learned senior figures had refused to be interviewed by investigators.
“I am disgusted that they could not make Roger Stone and Shaun Wright speak,” she said. They should have been able to force them to speak.
“It’s just a shambles.”
The conduct of current and former police officers comes under the remit of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s ongoing investigation, while the National Crime Agency is looking into thousands of lines of inquiry in relation to allegations of abuse and grooming during the Jay Report period.
But the NCA probe’s terms of reference do not cover allegations of misconduct against officials at Rotherham Borough Council, hence calls for a new criminal investigation.
“We are totally devastated, and we have every right to know who ignored us and why,” Elizabeth said.
“We and our families need some closure from this living nightmare.”
To see and sign the petition, visit change.org and search for “Justice for Rotherham Survivors”.