Sir Kevin Barron criticises police over child grooming
ROTHER Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron has broken his silence on Alexis Jay’s child sexual exploitation report to reveal he received just one report of CSE during the 16 years it covers.
Sir Kevin said he was shocked by “the scale of the brutality and violence” involved and called for more whistleblowing and the adoption of all Prof Jay’s recommendations
He said in a statement released today: “Having had a few days now to absorb the findings in Alexis Jay's report commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, my shock and abhorrence have only intensified as the full horror of the report's findings sink in.
“The scale of this brutality and violence acted out on our young people in the Rotherham borough has shocked me.
“In the past 16 years I have only been approached by one family and their daughter who was an abused victim and asked for help.
“I acted promptly and had meetings with the Rotherham police about the family’s concerns in relation to the apparent lack of investigation and conviction.
“After speaking to police I’m afraid that I shared the parents’ concerns as I remained unconvinced that any investigative activity was underway and that, in fact, there was a reluctance to pursue this ‘difficult and sensitive’ subject.
“I kept in touch with the family and met them in Westminster when they were campaigning against sexual exploitation with a national charity.”
Sir Kevin said the victim and her father were afforded an opportunity to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in January 2013.
The father was quoted in this hearing as saying:
“When this happened to Emma I got my local MP Kevin Barron involved.
“He was very good and he wrote to Rotherham Police because we did not feel that
it was being investigated correctly.
“We asked for meetings with Supt Chris Burbeary at the time but she refused to meet with us.”
Sir Kevin added: “It now appears that this case was not a relatively rare one as I had thought and that the abuse by her attackers and subsequent failure of response by the very agencies whose role it was to protect her was a widespread situation and just the tip of the iceberg in terms of child sexual exploitation.
“Rotherham Borough Council and all of the relevant support agencies must now work together to bring the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes to account and to put into place procedures to minimise the levels of activity of these child abusers.”
“Key actions from now on must be to address the report's 15 recommendations in a robust and consistent manner, to create an environment in which victims of child sexual exploitation are encouraged and supported to report the abuse they are suffering and provided with appropriate counselling and to encourage whistleblowing from within the agencies who have children in their care.
“Those who have held positions of responsibility in any way related to these horrific cases in Rotherham must be held to account.
“Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham Borough Council, has quite correctly resigned.
“An independent investigation is needed into the activity or lack of activity by South Yorkshire Police at that time to try and establish whether any of the perpetrators of these historic cases can be identified and brought to justice.
“For this to happen, the current police and crime commissioner, Sean Wright, who was the Cabinet member responsible for children’s services on the council between 2005 and 2010, cannot remain in office and should resign with immediate effect.
“Rotherham can then hopefully start to move forward, building on the improvements in the area of addressing child sexual exploitation, as it has in the past few of years, with a new leader in post and a fresh and zealous approach to the protection of our children and young people.”
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