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'Learn from my town', says Rotherham child sex abuse survivor

Sammy Woodhouse suffered abused in Rotherham Photo:

In the wake of Jersey’s Care Inquiry report, a sexual abuse survivor is encouraging the island to follow her home town’s example in its response.

A survivor of Child Sexual Exploitation, Sammy Woodhouse, was known for years as ‘Jessica’, but has recently waived her anonymity.

She has been heavily involved with the repair to Rotherham’s reputation following 16 years of child sexual exploitation from 1997 to 2013. She believes through the desire to work closely with survivors, the council have made great strides.

Sammy met her abuser Arshid Hussain in her home town of Rotherham, just after her 14th birthday. At first he was funny and kind and often paid her compliments. However, his manner towards her soon changed. She endured two years of mental, physical and sexual abuse.

Her father tried to put an end to the relationship when he discovered her diary, but she claims the authorities didn't take her parents seriously enough. One police officer, who was supposed to be investigating her case, even asked her out for a date.

The abuse was allowed to continue for many months until she became pregnant with her abuser’s child. It was only then that the authorities decide she was in"moral and physical" danger and took out a protection order.

She came to Jersey recently to address the Safeguarding Partnership Board, talking about her experience of sexual abuse and how councils, police and health workers could help.

Here, she recommended that island officials learn from Rotherham authorities’mistakes and act proactively with survivors to address the issues raised in the Independent Care Inquiry report.

Rotherham is known all over the word for being one of the worst towns to live in and people say to me are you ashamed of being from Rotherham, and I'm not. Yes we've got a lot of bad people in Rotherham that have done a lot of bad things,but we've also got a lot of good people.

I think the council was hit a lot harder than the Police. For me personally, I've seen a lot more improvement from the Council. I think they're listening a lot more and I think they're starting to understand the grooming process.

– SAMMY WOODHOUSE, SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR

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