TWO campaigners who have battled for justice over Rotherham’s child sexual exploitation scandal have joined an elite group including Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa.
Whistleblower Jayne Senior and a CSE survivor known as Elizabeth, who helped put her own abuser behind bars in 2018, have been presented with the Paul Harris Fellowship \a the highest award possible from the Rotary International Organisation.
Jayne, the chief executive of Swinton Lock Activity Centre and the former head of youth project Risky Business, played a central role in exposing the scandal.
Elizabeth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has campaigned for a change in the law so public officials who turned a blind eye to the widespread abuse can be held to account.
Ray White, president of Stainborough Rotary Club, said he and his fellow members had wasted no time in agreeing Jayne and Elizabeth should receive the award after they spoke of their battle for justice for CSE survivors at a virtual club meeting.
Mr White, who called the abuse “an awful atrocity against our children”, praised Elizabeth’s “tenacity” in overcoming and moving on from her own ordeal and hailed Jayne for “recognising this injustice and refusing to let go”.
He said they were being recognised “for exceptional service to the community over and above what would normally be expected” with the Paul Harris award, which is named after the founder of the Rotary organisation and lists among its recipients former UN chief Kofi Annan and the late Pope John Paul II.
“I think the work you’re doing is just outstanding,” he told Jayne and Elizabeth.
Jayne said she was accepting the award not only for herself but also for Swinton Lock, “this little charity that continues wherever it can to support vulnerable people, victims of abuse and survivors of exploitation and to learn every day from Elizabeth’s experience so we can try and ensure that this (the CSE scandal) will never happen again in Rotherham”.
She added: “We are a small charity with a big heart and open our doors to anyone in need.
“This award is amazing and we will shout about it.
“I’m really proud to receive it on behalf of all the children in Rotherham that were failed by those who were there to protect them.”
Elizabeth said: “I’ve always tried to stand up for those who have not got a voice.”
She told the assembled Rotary members: “For the last seven years, I’ve tried to work with authorities and got nothing, certainly nothing like this, so I want to thank you for doing this for us.”
As well as delivering training to people involved in tackling child sexual exploitation, Elizabeth also works with the Ministry of Justice on shaping changes to the justice system around child sex crimes.