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Labour party members suspended over abuse scandal

Labour has suspended four party members, including three councillors, over the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

Cllr Gwendoline Ann Russell, Jahangir Akhtar, Cllr Shaukat Ali, and Cllr Roger Stone have been suspended pending further investigation.

As Ed Miliband made clear last week large numbers of young people in Rotherham were systematically abused and then let down by those who should have protected them.

It cannot be allowed to stand.

In addition, two former members of the party will require NEC approval of any application to re-join the Labour Party

They are Shaun Wright and Maurice Kirk.

We have also suspended the current Rotherham local government selection procedure and put the Labour Party’s NEC in overall control of a new, rigorous selection procedure.

And we have instructed the Labour Group on Rotherham Council to set up a scrutiny committee on child protection that includes independent advisors to help rebuild public confidence in the council.

Further action against others in position of responsibility at the time may follow.

– Labour party

Force launches independent investigation into abuse

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, David Crompton, is initiating an independent investigation into the force’s handling of child sexual exploitation.

David Crompton
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, David Crompton Credit: Press Association

Questions have been raised about how the force intends to address issues identified in Professor Jay’s report relating to exploitation in Rotherham.

A fully independent and impartial investigation is required to ensure that people have confidence that organisations or any individuals will be investigated fairly, rigorously and with complete impartiality.

The investigation will properly and independently examine the role of both the police and council during the period identified and address any wrongdoings or failings, which will allow the appropriate action to be taken.

We must give victims the confidence to come forward in the knowledge that all agencies will listen, will act, provide appropriate support, and relentlessly pursue those who offend against our young people.

– Chief Constable David Crompton

Discussions have also begun to find an appropriate force to carry out the inquiry.

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Strip Rotherham Council of children's services says local MP

The Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon has written to the Education Secretary asking her to remove responsibility for children's services from Rotherham Council. It follows last week's report into the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham which revealed more than 1,400 were abused from 1997 to 2013.

Shaun Wright will stand down in 2016

The Police and Crime Commissioner at the centre of a row over child abuse in Rotherham is facing another attempt to get rid of him - this time from an influential group of councillors from across South Yorkshire

The Police and Crime Panel, which has the power to scrutinise Shaun Wright's activities, is taking legal advice in an attempt to force him out of office.

The commissioner, says he will stand down - but not until he faces re election in two years. He says the cost of holding a by-election is not in the public interest. David Hirst reports

Charity claims its warnings of child sex abuse in Rotherham were ignored

A charity which warned of widespread child sex abuse in Rotherham 12 years ago, says questions must be answered about why its warnings were ignored and an official report never published back then.

Detailed evidence of criminal gangs in the town grooming children for sex was drawn up by a researcher as long ago as 2002, according to Hilary Willmer from Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation.

But it was only in last week's damning report that it emerged those findings were rejected by council officials and police because they thought they were exaggerated or made up.

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Babies 'taken away from Rotherham victims'

Babies born to some victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham were taken away from them and their mothers would never see them again, the town's MP said.

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Report finds 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham. Credit: ITV News

A report by Professor Alexis Jay found 1,400 children were sexually abused while in care at the council over a 16-year period.

In a number of the cases we read, children and young people had pregnancies, miscarriages and terminations. Some had children removed under care orders and suffered further trauma when contact with their child was terminated and alternative family placements found. This affected not just the victims themselves, but other siblings who had developed attachments to the baby.

– Professor Alexis Jay's report

Labour's Sarah Champion said it "spoke volumes" about how the authorities did not see these children as victims.

"In my eyes, this is one of the most upsetting parts of the report," she said.

Rotherham communities need to work together

Days after the damning report into the abuse of hundreds of young people in Rotherham, focus remains on holding those in public office at the time of the abuse to account and supporting the many victims.

But in Rotherham itself attention is turning to how communities work together to ensure nothing like it happens again. David Hirst reports.

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