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Victim: Child sex abuse is 'every day life' in Rotherham

One of the 1,400 victims of child sex abuse highlighted in a report spanning 16 years has said she believes the attacks are still going on today.

She told ITV News that the kind of exploitation outlined in Prof Alexis Jay's dossier was "every day life" for young people in Rotherham.

It comes as the former head of children's services, Sonia Sharp, admitted she knew about the sexual abuse going on in Rotherham as long ago as 2005.

ITV News correspondent Damon Green reports:

Minister demands answers after 'appalling' report

The Children's Minister has written to Rotherham Council to demand answers in the wake of a damning report into the sexual exploitation of children in care.

Edward Timpson has given council bosses two weeks - until September 12 - to respond with details of the action being taken to address the issues highlighted in the report.

Children's Minister Edward Timpson has given Rotherham Council two weeks to respond
Children's Minister Edward Timpson has given Rotherham Council two weeks to respond Credit: PA

In his letter, he said:

I have read, with horror, the appalling findings of the report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Like many others, I found the scale of the failure to safeguard children, over such a long period, genuinely shocking.

My interest is in ensuring, quickly, that the current arrangements for safeguarding children in Rotherham, in particular in respect of child sexual exploitation, are robust and enable children there to grow up as safely as possible.

– Edward Timpson, Children's Minister

Read: South Yorkshire deputy PCC resigns

Read: Claim: Workers saw abuse victims as 'not worth saving'

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Early Ofsted inspection of Rotherham announced

Ofsted will carry out an early inspection of Rotherham Council's child protection and looked-after children's services.

In the wake of a report which found 1,400 children were sexually abused while in care at the council over a 16-year period, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said she had agreed with Ofsted to pull the inspection forward.

She added:

I will not hesitate to take further action if necessary to ensure children are safe.

– Education Secretary Nicky Morgan

South Yorkshire deputy PCC resigns

The deputy South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner has resigned over a damning report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham - and called for the police and crime commissioner to follow suit.

Tracey Cheetham said she felt unable to continue" in the role, and added:

It is vital for people to have confidence in the office of police and crime commissioner and, with this in mind, I believe it would have been the right thing for Shaun Wright to resign.

– Tracey Cheetham, former South Yorkshire deputy police and crime commissioner

Cameron joins calls for South Yorkshire PCC to quit

The Prime Minister has echoed calls for South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright to quit, saying it would be "the right decision."

In the wake of a damning report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham, David Cameron said:

The right decision would be to resign and take full responsibility for what happened.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Mr Wright, a former Labour councillor, headed up Rotherham's child services for five years during the 16-year period when 1,400 children in care were abused, and became police and crime commissioner in 2012.

The report by Prof Alexis Jay revealed more than 150 allegations were reported last year, and were "ongoing" today.

Claim: Workers saw abuse victims as 'not worth saving'

Council workers failed to act on allegations of widespread child sexual exploitation in Rotherham because they simply believed victims "weren't worth saving", the former deputy leader at Rotherham Council has claimed.

Jahangir Akhtar, ex-deputy leader at Rotherham Council
Jahangir Akhtar, ex-deputy leader at Rotherham Council Credit: ITV News

Speaking to ITV News, Jahangir Akhtar rejected suggestions that workers were afraid to identify perpetrators as Asian for fear of being branded racist were "very disingenuous" and a "get out".

People did not act because they thought these young vulnerable girls weren't worth saving. I think that's a copout. That's my personal opinion.

– Jahangir Akhtar, ex-deputy leader at Rotherham Council

He said it was clear that "collectively we have failed young vulnerable children".

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Police officer charged with sexual activity with girl, 15

A South Yorkshire Police officer previously based in Rotherham has been charged with causing a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

Daniel Cookson, aged 27, appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court today to face the allegation.

The force said the charge relates to an alleged offence committed between March and November last year, and Cookson was suspended when he was arrested in November.

Cookson was bailed to appear at Leeds Crown Court on September 11.

It is understood that the allegation is not related in any way to wider issues of child abuse in Rotherham.

Minister voices concern over police 'failings'

The Crime Prevention Minister has voiced concern after a report accused South Yorkshire Police of "failings" in the way it handled reports of child sexual abuse.

It comes after a report by Prof Alexis Jay said the force had treated victims with "contempt" and did not believe what they were saying.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker says he is "concerned" by the findings of the report
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker says he is "concerned" by the findings of the report Credit: PA

Minister Norman Baker described violent attacks like rape as "devastating crimes that ruin lives", and demanded that the force acts on recommendations for improvement immediately.

We expect every report to be taken seriously, every crime to be recorded, every investigation to be conducted thoroughly and professionally, and every victim to be treated with dignity.

We are very concerned that there are now two reports that suggest that there have been failings in the way South Yorkshire Police deals with vulnerable victims.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has set out clear recommendations for improvement - both in relation to crime recording and child sexual exploitation.

We expect the force to act on these immediately to regain the confidence of victims and the wider public.

– Norman Baker, Crime Prevention Minister

Ch Supt Jason Harwin has offered an "unreserved" apology to victims.

South Yorks Police probe 173 child sex abuse claims

Scandal-hit South Yorkshire Police currently have 173 live investigations into suspected child sexual exploitation, it has emerged.

It comes after a report revealed 1,400 children were sexually exploited over a 16-year period in Rotherham - and criticised the force for considering many of the young victims with "contempt".

The 173 investigations include 32 ongoing reports in Rotherham itself.

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