26 Aug 2014

Why did those there to care for Rotherham’s children look away?

Sadly, it is not the extraordinary detail of the abuse catalogued in today’s report on Rotherham which is so shocking.

In recent years, a number of high-profile court cases focusing on the crime of child sexual exploitation have shown just how brutal and cruel the men who groom girls as young as 10 or 11 for sex can be.

We’ve heard testimony of girls being brutally raped, beaten, terrorised and burnt. It is often part and parcel of this crime. Today’s report confirms that for the children abused in Rotherham over a period of 16 years, such violence and humiliation was commonplace.

But the most shocking aspect of today’s report is the sheer scale. 1,400 children exploited in a decade and a half according the independent report. 1,400.

And perhaps most appalling of all the terrible detail, that professionals and organisations there to care for some of the most vulnerable children in society looked away.

Professor Alexis Jay accused the local council of “blatant” collective failures. At a senior level, she said, police and children’s social care felt the problem was being exaggerated.

It’s clear that in Rotherham – as in the other towns and cities where the issue of grooming and child sexual exploitation has come to light – the children being abused were often not believed or simply ignored. The value of their lives seemed to count for very little.

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26 reader comments

  1. Philip Edwards says:


    Maybe they were afraid of being labelled “nanny state interferers.”

    Maybe it can all be left to privatised child care companies and the “free market” in child cruelty.

    But maybe not.

  2. Lamia says:

    You have asked a question and studiously failed to anser it. The answer is in the report: public employees were too bothered about being considered ‘racist’ to do their duty to vulnerable children, and the authorities hoped that the problem would go away. The ever-hovering charge of ‘Islamophobia!’ has sanctioned the horrific abuse of British girls by evil Pakistani savages.

    A number of public officials should be sitting in police cells right now. Rotherham Council needs large scale sackings – without pensions – and I hope the remaining employees are suitably ashamed of how their organisation has ‘served’ the public, and especially young girls.

  3. anon says:

    evil takes place when supposedly ‘good’ people look the other way. I feel, well know really that those charged with protecting the vulnerable would have both known and chosen to look the other way.

    many of these people are at heart frightened of abusive people, this is not to blame them but the people doing this work must be willing to put themselves, i say at risk, the risk isnt very great really, look what -others- are currently doing, nurses and doctors treating those with Ebola, war correspondents putting themselves at huge risk, soldiers, mine clearance people etc, sometimes paying the ultimate price, so standing against abusive people when one has all the resources avaialable from a lcoal authority is nothing at all, but those who take the money to do it, will not do it,

    all this talk of more training etc is bs, its a smiokescreen and avoids the real problem, the cowardice of those meant to be doing this work and enjoying the perks and salary etc.

    abusive people I think often will be on the surface extremely charming but underlying this charm there is another side, I think often s/ws wanting an easy life will not ask too many questions, not demand access to a property because to do so would bring out the other side to abusive people, it would be difficult, requires assertiveness but often abusive people will use this implied threat, to get their way, without actually doing anything

    it is significant I think that in one case it took a Police woman to demand access to a property where abuse was taking place

    this sounds drastic but is long overdue, these abuse cases will continue until someone wakes up to the inescable fact that the WRONG people are doing this, like appointing like,

    what is needed is to start again, clear out these departments and recruit again, this time use the Police to ultmately decide who has the bottle to do the job, and those who haven’t, and its NOT about toughness per se or phyiscal strength, Courage is an attitude, the willingness to put others before yourself and if necessary to pay the ultimate price to protect others,

    best wishes

  4. D Spiers says:

    It’s dreadful listening to you. For goodness sake let people answer your questions. Awful dis jointed interviewing. Can’t listen to channel 4. The only one with any sensible interviewing is the blonde woman. I definitely need to change channels.

  5. Anne says:

    Rotherham Council are not to blame for the experiences of these children, I worked on these teams and know the lenghts that social workers went to to protect these children. It is an outrage to even suggest that social services turned a blind eye to this. They absolutely did not. It was the police who failed to act on the numerous reports and concerns that we were raising over a number of years. Social Services do not have the power to break doors down and arrest people and they certainly dont have the power to do undercover opertations. Rotherham had a brilliant Child Exploitation policy, sadly the police didnt take action.

  6. Alex Cook says:

    Typical of other reporters today.

    The representative of South Yorkshire police was not permitted to complete even one answer to the many questions put to him by Jackie Long. She interrupted every answer.

    Perhaps she asked the wrong questions. We are all outraged by what happened in Rotherham . The treatment of children could not have been worse. Was she trying to prove that she is more outraged than the rest of us? . I can assure you she is not.
    Whatever happened to a profession broadcaster preparing the toughest questions in such circumstances and getting them answered?
    The result was a bitty interview that got us nowhere at all, resolved nothing….a complete waste of expensive air time.
    The representative of Bernardos, who followed on, fared little better. His organisation was attacked in the first question. And so it went on. I wont be watching again.

  7. Keith says:

    But why no mention of the perpetrators? The crux of the report was that nothing was done for fear of accusations of racism. Your live C4 report made clear the men concerned were almost all of “Asian”, for which read Pakistan origin. Now this cover up is perpetuated in this article and in the Independent. What irony.

  8. Elaine says:

    Distressing news from Rotherham, interesting to see the failings of the police and local authorities being covered by Channel 4 News. When is the behaviour of the men who do this to girls, in this country and beyond, going to be questioned?

  9. Peter Quinn says:

    Political correctness gone cruel and evil in the systematic child abuse reported in Rotherham today, but it’s sad to say it’s happening up and down the country. The Muslim community must expose the bullying perverts in their midst if community relations are to have a harmonious future. The culture of silence and the toleration of evil should end. Businesses involved in the abuse should be boycotted.

    1. Adam says:

      What’s being a Muslim got to do with anything? If you’ve read the way these rapists behaved – the drinking, drug taking, rape, sex outside of marriage, then you’d realize that they clearly were not practising Muslim. If they had been practicing they may have been decent men. There’s no mention of Indian Muslims, or Bengali, Somali or any other nationality. These men weren’t all simply Pakistani but from rural Kashmir. There is something clearly wrong with their culture and islam isn’t it.

  10. Red says:

    The Rotherham findings are shocking. But the case tells us less about sexual perversion than about the state of local government. This is the matter that affects life in Britain more than Westminster, Brussels, the international scene…..

    To begin with criminality, it makes no difference if the offence is sexual, a traffic incident, a common disturbance or dispute, burglary or theft, trading, corruption, employment law…. it is the same. “Respectable gangs” that include police, court officials, local government officers, landlords, business owners and other “pillars of society”, who “know each other socially” through a variety of organisations; the golf-club, Rotary Club, Lions, political party clubs, masonic lodges and so on, form mafias that can not be penetrated in all but the largest metropolis. Such gangs are mutually protective and regard themselves as above the law: their respectability must, in their own eyes, be maintained at all costs, so complainants are simply ignored or threatened.

    And the same pattern obtains in many other areas, notably planning, licensing and access to employment and “high society”. This inhibits and frustrates enterprise, equity, reform and access to office. This is the great, ignored elephant in Britain’s drawing room. This is what lies behind these most awful of organised crimes, up and, indeed, down the land.

  11. Robert Brooks-Spicer says:

    I’m staggered by this revelation and I suspect those responsible for the protection and care of these children will weasel out of their culpability in this horrendous case.
    Time and time again people in positions of responsibily in our society shirk their duties and emerge unscaithed.
    Until severe penalties are imposed on these despicable wretches we will face this situation over and over again!

  12. Brian Sullivan says:

    I totally disagree with the previous comment, it is about time reporters asked the difficult questions of those in positions of power, particularly when it is about child abuse. Jackie Long put the Chief Supt. of South Yorkshire police on the spot, all credit to her. It is so different to the BBC with their political correctness. Serious questions need to be asked of the authorities in Rotherham and at least she started the process. Well done to her!!!!

  13. Lamia says:

    This article is a textbook example of why this scandal happened – the determination of the media not to report the issue, because of their prissy, narcissistic concerns about not being labelled racist.

    We already know from the report that ‘almost all’ the perpetrators were Muslims of Pakistani ancestry and almost all of the victims were white girls, but Jackie Long doesn’t seem to think any of that worth mentioning. Shameful. The media which so piously refused to report this carries its own share of the blame for the misery experienced by those girls.

    Are you proud of C4’s own role in burying this story, Jackie?

  14. John Smith says:

    what amazes me is the lack of demands for ALL the TENS OF THOUSANDS of evil men (and women) involved in these racist crimes not just in this town to be punished appropriately.

    suggested tarrif:
    procurers using violence / threats of – jailed for life or 20 years then deported
    procurers no violence or threats – jailed for 25 years or 15 years then deported
    ‘customers’ – jailed for 20 years or 10 years then deported
    all passports/citizenship removed whether deported or not
    people in positions that should have helped should also be sacked and prosecuted

  15. M Barrister says:


    I must admit to being totally disillusioned with what was once a place I called home!
    I live in a part of London which is unrecognisable from 30 years ago but I had better stop there, for I would be considered racist!!
    As I mentioned, what was once home is a dangerous place now, in more ways than one!!

    Am I right in thinking it was Yorkshire Police who were in hot pursuit of Sir Cliff, on the strength of a phone call and yet did nothing concerning the abuse of 1400 children?

    Would you think that Sir Cliff must be wishing he were Pakistani!!??

    This country is DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Paul says:

    Amongst many communities of Pakistani origin there is a dominant misogynistic, macho culture.
    Unfortunately this is matched by an equally misogynistic, macho culture in police forces up and down the country (which are predominantly white), and the same in both local government, and amongst politicians (including UKIP) and civil servants at Westminster.
    As long as greed trumps care and the number of trained social workers and others who support the most vulnerable is constantly cut, and there is insufficient challenge from not only women feminists but also men who support feminism, then the catalogues of abuse uncovered in Rochdale and Rotherham are bound to happen again.

  17. IAS says:

    When this story was released into the media, I listened while my heart sunk for those young, innocent and vulnerable children who were abused – NOT ONCE, but twice – by the rapist, and the authorities who seemingly belittled the original reports that were placed on their desks.

    Isn’t this another example of ABUSE of POWER… in so many ways… that have traumatised so many young minds and will most certainly complicate the adult lives of these victims?

  18. Harry says:

    Why are the media and authorities terming the groomers as “Asian”. Asia is a huge continent and its not fair to paint other asians with Pakistani (mostly Kashmiris) with the same brush.
    I blame Labour who rather have the Pakistani votes than seek justice for the victims.

    1. Philip says:

      And I have contempt for people like you who feel the need to politicise occurrences like this.
      Amid all the witch-hunt, we need to spend time to reflect on
      why this happened
      how it happened
      how it can be prevented in future –
      in terms of attitudes, procedures, resources
      There is apparently among certain British citizens of Kashmiri origin a greater tendency to do this sort of thing than other sections of our society. As rightly said above, this has nothing to do with them being Muslim. I don’t recall any of the UK’s more notorious criminals being labelled “Christian”, so why are so many people commenting here determined to remind us these men were Muslims? It seems to me that there is a section of society that is looking out for every opportunity to label British Asian Muslims – and pleasure in being able to criticise “PC attitudes”.
      The world has changed over the last 40 years. We aren’t going back to the UK of the 1950s. We have to deal with the world as it is, neither on the basis of wishful thinking or nostalgia. This may mean some difficult decisions about multiculturalism & the nature of what is acceptable as a UK citizen and what not. It may also require us to accept that time plays a role in developing societies. We need to understand differences in the different parts of our society and resolve problems when they are identified. Condemning is easy, but it’s essentially a dead-end. The only way to deal with terrible occurrences like this is to make sure they can’t happen in future.

  19. Frances Mannion says:

    Is this not mostly about money? The victims were poor. Would middle class children not have been listened to at a police station when their parents in suits attended with them? And money in that they were treated like consumer goods; use and dispose of when finished?

    Hope the government is going to do more than apologise. That its going to remedy some of the damage done. Provide practical help to the abused to start with. Tired of people just apologizing, so are victims of incompetence.

    If the police had listened, still not confident that the legal system would have got them justice anyway. They would probably have been trashed in court by abusive barristers, Not sure justice was ever an option, listened to or otherwise.

    Less focus on political correctness and more on what is right and wrong might help. In any conflict of priorities; race and others, children should always be the main priority in a civilized society, because they are children.

    During this time were we not putting the world to rights, Iraq war and standing shoulder to shoulder with America and fighting ‘wars on terror’? Looks like terror was happening to those little more than toddlers. Terror was right here for these kids. Hope that the police are forced to complete a form for every time a crime is reported to them. That they are not allowed to pick and choose. And not decide truth depends partly on your background.

  20. Sibyl says:

    The answer to the question, why weren’t they listened to? is in the two words I listened in vain to hear on tonight’s programme: WOMEN and GIRLS.

  21. Barbara says:

    This problem is deep rooted in some areas of society.. It is a deep rooted belief that women and girls exist to serve men sexually and domestically. This is not only a problem of ethnicity.

  22. roy says:

    Sorry to say this is the tip of iceberg yes
    As I was someone who was messed around with I can tell you a 5 schools in the same group were involved the police didn’t investigate correctly or ask why the local council Gloucestershire did close the school 20 years before a even larger amount of people were messed with
    Even now when you make a complaint you still don’t get belived

  23. Andrew Dundas says:

    When Ann Cryer (MP for Keighley) complained of the sexual grooming of under-age girls by Pakistani men, she was decried as ‘racist’. Her complaints were appreciated by her electors and Ann won her the greatest increase in the Labour vote in the 2005 election, and despite the intervention of the BNP leader, Nick Griffin.
    Ann taught us a lesson: stand up against sexual exploitations! But it seems that her lesson to us all was swept aside. What a pity.

  24. Farid says:

    Tonight’s interview of the politician, who in the last decade raised the issue of children from homes being abused by gangs, was dreadful
    The interviewer instead of allowing the politician to reveal the information about Westminster politicians that, repeated like a moronic robot the same question about the man’s personal responsibility.
    It appeared the interviewer was purposely talking over the politician in order to shut him up.
    Leaving behind the suspicion that the journalist is perhaps herself culpable in the continuing abuse of children by doing nothing to report on the issue in the last decade.
    I wanted to hear what the man had to say, not the pointless repetition of a bad interviewer.

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