Sarah Responds to Home Affairs Select Committee Hearing on Child Sexual Exploitation
Sarah Champion MP commented: "I was incredulous when I was hearing witness statements in the Home Affairs select committee.The level of intimidation witnesses and frontline staff received to either retract evidence or not proceed with concerns was staggering. For witnesses not to be taken seriously is horrendous enough, for them to then face threats from the very people charged with protecting them is utterly abhorrent.
The Home Affairs select committee has an important role in holding those responsible for protecting children in Rotherham to account. For constituents to have faith and trust in the police, social services and council staff we must be sure that senior management truly grasp the nature of child sexual exploitation and are doing all they can to prevent it.
(However), Witness in the select committee gave excuses that they weren't aware or couldn't remember. It is inconceivable that they did not know. Their comments show either complete lack of governance and scrutiny or exposes gross incompetence and negligence on their part.
I have made it clear that those who failed in Rotherham's child protection services must take responsibility for their actions. Labour councillors have already acknowledged and accepted this. I do not think there is any justification in RMBCs statement that current and former staff will not be disciplined or prosecuted for their failings based on the report. This would not be the case in any other environment and I will keep pressing to make sure it isn't allowed to happen in the council. Staff were paid to protect children, they failed and should face consequences for their devastating failings which have destroyed lives.
I have called on the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to fully support Rotherham's child protection services in tackling child sexual exploitation. I will keep working with them both to ensure that children in my constituency and across country are safe from these predators. I have a meeting with the Treasury to request funding to provide support and justice to the 1400 victims who, to date have, have received neither.