Sarah Champion MP comments on conviction of six Rotherham men for child sexual exploitation

Sarah Champion MP comments on conviction of six Rotherham men for child sexual exploitation 

 

Sarah Champion responding to the convictions, said:

 

“The conviction of six Rotherham men today at Sheffield Crown Court of 20 child sexual exploitation offences committed between 1998 and 2002 is a great relief. 

 

I want to express my gratitude to the courageous survivors and witnesses in coming forwards and to the National Crime Agency and South Yorkshire police for believing them and acting to secure this result. Let us also remember the families affected by today’s news and send them our solidarity. 

 

An ongoing concern for me is that if victims and survivors are not properly supported, the likelihood of convictions is dramatically reduced. Sadly, in Rotherham and indeed across the country, victim support services do not have the funding they need to survive, let alone meet demand. This is why I have been campaigning to urge the Government to make it a statutory duty to provide all victims of sexual abuse access to appropriate, properly funded, services to rebuild their lives. If they report the crime, they should also be given information on the criminal justice process and there should be a Victim’s Law to legislate for these rights. 

 

A particular worry is the drop in the use of pre-charge bail on suspects of child sexual abuse. My recent Freedom of Information request found that since reforms making it much harder for police to implement bail were introduced in 2017, pre-charge bail conditions on suspected child sexual offenders has plummeted by 56 per cent. Meanwhile the number of suspects released without conditions has risen by over 1,000 per cent. Shockingly, nearly 3,000 suspects were released without conditions in 2017/18. This can leave survivors living in fear that their abuser might contact them or attempt to attend their address, school or place of work. This is particularly alarming as one in five survivors told our survey they did not report to police as they feared further violence from the perpetrator. I am campaigning for the Home Secretary to amend legislation so that bail conditions are applied as a default in sexual abuse cases.

 

I will continue to campaign for these issues in Parliament until all survivors of sexual violence and abuse, in Rotherham and across the country, can be confident that the criminal justice system will support them appropriately, protect them from perpetrators and deliver justice.”

 

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

 

Link to BBC report:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-49500387

Jim Pomeroy