Report finds children were 'raped, beaten and intimidated' in Rotherham

Girls 'as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.' Credit: PA

A report into the sexual exploitation of around 1,400 children in Rotherham has detailed gang rapes, grooming and trafficking over many years.

It describes one case in which a 15-year-old girl was trafficked to three different locations in the UK to be abused.

The report describes how 'Child B' was taken to Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield and told that she would be given a place to stay. Instead, she was assaulted by other victims at the instigation of the perpetrator.

She was subsequently stalked and even doused with petrol despite a child protection referral being made.

The victim's mother is said to have "refused to have anything more to do with the police" because she believed they "could do nothing to protect them."

Professor Alexis Jay, the author of the report, said there were many instances where police regarded child victims "with contempt" during the 16-year inquiry period.

The online dangers to children were highlighted in the case of 'Child K' who was groomed by a known sex offender via Facebook when she was 13 years old. Her location remains unknown, despite the child sexual exploitation team attempting to engage with her and her family.

Professor Jay said she found examples of "children who had been threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone".

She said: "They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated."

Professor Jay said she found that girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.

The report found "blatant" failures of the political and officer leadership of Rotherham Council over the first 12 years, as the seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers.

It also found that the abuse allegations were not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire Police between 1997 to 2009.

The spotlight first fell on Rotherham in 2010 when five men, described by a judge as "sexual predators", were given lengthy jail terms after they were found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex.

The prosecution was the first in a series of high-profile cases in the last four years that have revealed the exploitation of young girls in towns and cities including Rochdale, Derby and Oxford.