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'What happened in Rotherham could happen anywhere'

What happened in Rotherham could "could happen anywhere", a victim of abuse in the town told ITV News.

The girl, one of an estimated 1,400 child sex victims in the area, said: "It can happen to anyone. It's not just a problem in Rotherham. It's a problem all over the country.

"What officials need to do is acknowledge that it's a problem and show that they are going to tackle it. Not just say yes, we know it's a problem, but to start and prove to people that they are going to challenge it."

Rotherham's new director of children's services Jane Parfrement said any council worker not up to the job faces the sack.

An Ofsted report into child sexual exploitation identified seven other problem areas in the England where services need to be improved.

It said Brent, Bristol, Camden, Kent, Luton, Oldham and Rochdale, are "not responding to child sexual exploitation consistently or well" and leaving children "exposed to risk of harm".



Ofsted: 'Not enough to wait for the next scandal'

Ofsted's national director for social care has said it not enough to 'simply wait for the next scandal to happen' in a damning report on councils' response to child sexual exploitation.

While we have found examples of excellent frontline practice, it is clear that some areas have moved faster, further and more effectively than others.

It is not enough to simply wait for the next scandal to happen. We are calling on all local authorities and their partners to ensure that they have a comprehensive multi-agency strategy and action plan in place to tackle child sexual exploitation.

– Debbie Jones, Ofsted's national director for social care

Ofsted: Councils 'too slow' over child sexual exploitation

The education watchdog has warned that the most vulnerable children in society are at risk of sexual exploitation due to unacceptable failings by social services, health workers and police.

Ofsted: Councils 'too slow' over child sexual exploitation Credit: PA

Ofsted said local authorities have been "too slow" to face up to their responsibilities in preventing child sexual exploitation while those designed to protect young people had failed to share information with others.

Arrangements to tackle sexual exploitation at a local level were described as "underdeveloped", while leadership was criticised as being "frequently lacking".

IPCC probe 'positive step' for victims' families

The Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said she hopes the investigation into 10 police officers is seen as a "positive step" for Rotherham abuse victims and their families.

Kathryn Stone said: "The amount of public concern across the country about this episode and the impact on confidence in the police means it is important that a fully independent investigation is conducted to establish how South Yorkshire Police dealt with child sexual exploitation.

"I sincerely hope that victims and their families will see this investigation as a positive step towards answering the many questions they must have.

"I have met with South Yorkshire Police and am reassured by their commitment to fully cooperate with the investigation."


Ten officers were part of group of 13 referred to IPCC

The Jay report found more than 1,400 children had been sexually abused in Rotherham. Credit: PA

Ten police officers being investigated by the Independent Police Commission were part of a group of 13 referred by South Yorkshire Police.

The other three officers will not face investigation at this time, the IPCC said.

It was decided two did not justify an investigation involving the police watchdog, while the third officer remains under review.

The ten officers were identified through the Jay Report, which found more than 1,400 children had been subjected to child sex abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

It also criticised the way in which South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council dealt with complaints from teenage girls who said they had been raped and trafficked by gangs of mainly Asian men.

The other three officers referred to were identified by a separate internal report.

Victim lawyer: Rotherham council was 'dysfunctional'

Thousands of vulnerable youngsters slipped through the net because Rotherham Council were "dysfunctional", a defence lawyer told Good Morning Britain, after MPs published a damning report into mass sexual abuse in the south Yorkshire town.

David Greenwood, who is representing 32 victims of the sexual abuse, said: "There were lots of good ideas, lots of good meetings going on, lots of good strategies, but no one was taking a lead on it."

Ofsted: We did not give Rotherham 'the focus it needed'

The education watchdog has admitted it failed to give Rotherham Council "the forensic focus it needed and deserved," after MPs slammed Ofsted's inability to expose mass child sexual abuse in the south Yorkshire town.

An Ofsted spokesman said they "welcomed" the chance to give evidence before the Communities and Local Government Committee, after MPs published a scathing report into child protection services in Rotherham.

Ofsted welcomes the opportunity to give evidence to the committee. In common with a number of organisations, we accept that past inspections may not have given child sexual exploitation the forensic focus it needed and deserved.

That's why last year we introduced a new and much more rigorous inspection framework for inspecting children's services, which places a stronger emphasis on the issue.

Inspectors now look closely at the experiences of children, focusing sharply on whether the risks of sexual exploitation are understood and acted upon by frontline agencies. This week we will be publishing the first in-depth nationwide survey into local authority practice and responses to child sexual exploitation.

– An Ofsted spokesman
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