MP says more support still needed for CSE survivors as inquiry concludes

SURVIVORS are “still not receiving enough support”, according to Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, following the conclusion of an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

The release of the final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse last month, led by Prof Alexis Jay, found “victims were frequently blamed as being responsible for their own sexual abuse”, that child sexual abuse is a “global crisis and not just a national issue” and that “there is still not enough support available to both child and adult victims and survivors”.

Ms Jay headed the first independent probe into CSE, leading to the document known as the Jay Report, which found an estimated 1,400 victims had been sexually abused in the borough between 1997 and 2003.

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Ms Champion said the IICASA report “marked the end of a battle of many years for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to be heard” and added that local authorities, government and law enforcement had, and continued to, let victims down.

The MP said: “Those who have listened know of the immense suffering endured, and the extent to which they were let down, and continue to be let down by local authorities, government and law enforcement, who have each failed to take the bold and decisive action needed to protect them.

“What is clear is that child sexual abuse and exploitation are national issues affecting victims in all regions of the UK.  

“For too long, authorities have either chosen to turn a blind eye to them or have considered them too complicated to address.    

“Now is the time to ask the difficult questions.”

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Ms Champion said it was “not enough to produce a list of lessons learned”  and a “serious approach” to incidents of abuse was needed.

The IICSA report said it should become an offence to not report suspected abuse.

“Mandatory reporting, as recommended, will fail unless there is the infrastructure behind it to make sure cases are followed up and victims supported,” said Ms Champion.

“There needs to be serious investment in prevention and training and a concerted, joined-up effort by multiple agencies to put an end to this criminal behaviour.  

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“There needs to be a constant and holistic focus on disruption — taking a piecemeal approach inevitably leads to issues returning or shifting to another area.”

The inquiry report made a number of recommendations to the government — to be implemented within six months — including the need to institute a child protection authority for England and for Wales as well as a cabinet-level Minister for Children.

Home secretary Suella Braverman promised to deliver “radical change” in response to the inquiry’s findings.

Ms Braverman said she was “disgusted by misplaced cultural and political sensitivities” in areas where “endemic abuse” had taken place like Rotherham. She added that children had been “let down by public authorities” and promised long sentences for abusers.

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Suzanne Joyner, strategic director of children and young people’s services at Rotherham Council, said the report highlighted that child sexual exploitation “continues to be a serious problem across the UK”, but she paid tribute to the “bravery of the victims and survivors who shared their harrowing experiences with the inquiry”.

“There will always, sadly, be people who want to hurt and abuse children,” she said.

“Our approach to safeguarding children in Rotherham is unrecognisable from what it was when the Jay Report was published in 2014.

“But we will never be complacent, we very much welcome IICSA’s findings and recommendations for change.”



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