A report into 16 years of child sexual abuse in Rotherham has concluded that the true scale of exploitation in the town will never be known.
Damp in South Yorkshire at first, but elsewhere mostly dry with sunny spells. Turning brighter and drier through the day, lighter winds
Heavy rain is pushing NE'wards today with the potential for 10-20mm rain to fall across South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire up until midnight
Christopher Middleton, Conservative MP for the Rotherham seat of Sitwell, told ITV News that South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright's claim that he was not aware of the extent of child sex abuse in the town was "no excuse".
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said that the Labour party's view is that South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright should step down - but the party can't make him.
Balls, who was children's secretary in the last Labour government, told BBC Radio 4's The World At One:
– Ed Balls
The Labour Party has no power to compel somebody who has been elected as a police and crime commissioner to stand down.
But it is absolutely our view that he should do so. That is something which has been communicated to him today and I hope he very much reflects upon the position he is now in and the importance of leadership in these matters.
We need to show that we, not just in Rotherham but across the country, can command public confidence to keep children safe, lessons have got to be learned. But when you have a failure of this magnitude and catastrophe, then people have to take responsibility.
Muhbeen Hussain, founder of the Rotherham Muslim Youth group, told ITV News that the perpetrators behind widespread abuse of girls in the town must be punished.
"Whether there is a Pakistani man, whether there is a Muslim man,whether there is a man from any community, if they have been committing this crime - if they've been scarring our young girls - the young girls of our community - they must be prosecuted."
A lawyer representing people who were victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham says a new report will be a "watershed moment".
David Greenwood of Switalskis Solicitors and his team of Solicitors represent 15 girls who were subjected to sexual abuse by gangs of men in Rotherham between 1996 and 2012.
In a statement he said:
– David Greenwood, Switalskis Solicitors
In each of the 15 cases I am handling, there have been failings by individual social workers, but more importantly, we have been able to identify that Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police have failed to act on information which could have led to the arrest of perpetrators. Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police missed clear opportunities to prevent the sexual exploitation of dozens of girls in Rotherham.
I hope that Prof Jay’s report will be seen as a watershed moment in the way councils, the police and society treat allegations of abuse of children.
- Early to mid-1990s: Workers told the new report they came across examples of child sexual exploitation from this period.
- 1997: Risky Business, a team of youth workers, is set up over concerns about young people being abused through prostitution.
- 2002: Chapter of draft report contained severe criticisms of agencies in Rotherham involved with child sexual exploitation (CSE).
- 2005: Councillor Shaun Wright appointed cabinet member for the newly-created department of children and young people's services.
- 2008: Operation Central set up to investigate men believed to be involved in sexual exploitation.
- 2009: Ofsted rated Rotherham's children's services as "inadequate".
- 2010: Five men given lengthy jail terms after they are found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex.
- 2012: Reports in The Times claim that details from 200 restricted-access documents showed police and child protection agencies in the town had extensive knowledge of these activities for a decade, yet a string of offences went unprosecuted.
- 2013: Publication of Home Affairs Select Committee report into CSE andindependent inquiry into the issue in Rotherham is announced.
- 2014: Professor Alexis Jay's report finds 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation in a 16-year period.
Jane Collins, the Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, said that South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright does not "deserve a second chance".
She told ITV News that his position is "untenable" and said that it would be "ridiculous" if he remained in his current role in light of yesterday's report into widespread child sex abuse in Rotherham - some of which took place when he was head of child services for the town.
Families of missing people could be given new powers under Government proposals to take care of the legal and financial affairs of their absent relatives.
Direct debits for mobile phones and utility bills and making mortgage payments are among some of the actions families could take under the status of "guardian of the property and affairs of a missing person".
This would be in addition to the introduction of "certificates of presumed death" which can be applied for by relatives from October 1.
– Susannah Drury, Missing People charity
Imagine someone you love going missing. Then imagine watching the life that you hope they will return to fall apart. Missing People regularly hears from distressed families who are unable to step in and look after their missing relative's property and finances while they are missing. In the worst cases, finances are destroyed beyond repair and homes can be lost. This is why Missing People has been campaigning for guardianship to enable families to protect a missing loved one's life in their absence, and we are delighted that the Government has launched a consultation on introducing it.
The Ministry of Justice is seeking views on whether a system should be created under which a person can be appointed to deal with the property and affairs of a missing person.
– Lord Faulks, Justice Minister
The sudden disappearance of a loved one, perhaps without any obvious explanation, is a traumatic event for even the most resilient. The emotional and personal problems caused by absences of several months or even years are all too obvious, but they can be compounded by the practical consequences of the disappearance. We are considering the creation of a status of guardian of the property and affairs of a missing person to help enable these problems to be solved.
Under the proposals, an appointment as guardian for a missing person would be made by the court after a person has been absent for at least 90 days.
The appointment would be for a period of up to four years with the possibility of extension for a further four, and the guardian would have to account for their actions to a supervisory body.
Now fully read report, Sean Wright needs to step down as PCC. He's championed child abuse prosecutions since, but this happened on his watch
South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright should step down following the "devastating" report into child abuse in Rotherham, the Labour Party said today.
South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has refused to resign after a damning report into child abuse in Rotherham.
Shaun Wright was the councillor in charge of children's services at Rotherham Council and resigned from that role in 2010.
He told David Hirst he had "taken lessons" from that post and applied them in South Yorkshire Police: