Reaction from Sarah Champion MP on the Home Office Rotherham Independent review.
''I welcome this internal review into the Home Office into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
It is clear that the Home Office knew about child sexual exploitation in Rotherham from 2002. The report also highlights the knowledge of the Local Authority and South Yorkshire Police of the abuse. Why, when so many in authority knew the scale and severity of this crime did it take until 2014, with the publication of the Jay report, for a large scale investigation to occur? How many lives could have been protected if swift action had been taken a decade before?
Despite making countless requests to countless Ministers we still do not have the resources in Rotherham to support the past victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation. This review makes it clear that the Home Office did know about the abuse and I now believe even more strongly that they have a moral duty to help the women rebuild their lives.”
In a Home Office letter on 11.2.2002 the civil servant writes to University of Luton who they had commissioned to research child sexual exploitation; “Your email expressed concerns that the education service in Rotherham has a contract with a taxi firm that allegedly employs men who are “actively involved in grooming and pimping young women into prostitution.”
In the 2003 report by the University of Luton it states:
“In Sheffield, young people tend to come from Rotherham and other surrounding smaller towns. It is thought that the youngest and most vulnerable women working on the streets in Sheffield are from Rotherham (interview with Sheffield police 2001)
The Home Office misunderstood the former Home Office researcher in Rotherham when she tried to become a whistle-blower, instead the official thought it was a call to explain the delay in the research timetable.
University of Luton – Draft Final Evaluation Report (June 2002) (Key Doc 1) lists multiple Police Failings;
‘significant concerns about the adequacy of the policing responses.’
‘Disbelief that Rotherham has a problem with sexual exploitation’
‘Judgmental moral attitudes towards the young women involved’.
Case studies clearly showed that when young people were reported missing, the responses from the police and social services were ‘less than adequate’. With a Mother being told- ‘It was not the role of the police to run around after 14 year olds’.
Project evaluation was ‘stood down’ by the Home office despite no prosecutions made.