DCSIMG

Babies of the Rotherham child abuse girls

Rotherham town centre.

Rotherham town centre.

 

Several of Rotherham’s 1,400 child abuse victims had babies after being made pregnant by the men who raped them, The Star can reveal.

But some of the girls who wanted to keep their children had them taken away under care orders – and were never allowed to see them again.

One of those who had a baby was Laura Wilson, aged 17, murdered in 2010 for ‘bringing shame’ on the families of two Pakistani men who’d had sex with her.

She was stabbed and thrown into a canal by Ashtiaq Ashgar, then also 17, when her little girl was just weeks old – after she told Ashgar’s family, and the family of her baby’s father, Ishaq Hussein, 22, about her relationships with them.

Social workers had known for years Laura was at risk from predatory Asian gangs. It is suspected she was targeted by men from the age of 11.

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CHILD ABUSE VICTIMS HAD BABIES TAKEN AWAY

Several Rotherham schoolgirls who were victims of sexual exploitation had babies as a result of being raped - children they were then never allowed to see again after having them taken away by social services.

The Jay report said that, in several cases, abuse victims suffered the ‘further trauma’ of having their babies removed and contact with their children stopped.

No-one has been able to say precisely how many girls in the town, who had babies after being in abusive relationships, had their children taken into care.

Professor Alexis Jay’s explosive report, published earlier this week, said child sexual exploitation in the town had an ‘absolutely devastating’ effect on the estimated 1,400 victims.

The report also highlighted another tragic element of the scandal for some of the victims who fell pregnant - being separated from the babies born as a result.

It said: “In a number of cases we read, children and young people had pregnancies, miscarriages and terminations.

“Some had children removed under care orders, and suffered further trauma when contact with their child was terminated and alternative family placements found.

“This affected not just the victims themselves, but other siblings who had developed attachments to the baby.

“However, there were other cases where vulnerable and sometimes very young mothers were able, with appropriate long-term support, to recover and successfully care for their children.”

Among the victims of grooming in Rotherham who went on to have a child was Laura Wilson, who was murdered, aged 17, in 2010.

Laura’s baby was not one of those taken into care but, when her daughter was just 11 weeks old, Laura was stabbed and thrown into a canal by Ashtiaq Ashgar, then also 17 - after she told the families of Ashgar and the baby’s father, Ishaq Hussein, 22, about her relationships with them.

It was later revealed social workers had known for six years Laura was at risk from predatory Asian gangs, and had received information about adults suspected of targeting her from the age of 11.

Last year, a Home Affairs Select Committee report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which was commissioned in the wake of Laura’s murder, said police and council chiefs in the town had been ‘inexcusably slow’ at recognising the extent of the problem.

Rotherham Council said today it was unable to provide precise figures on how many abused girls had their children taken away from them.

A spokeswoman said the information kept by the council on care orders for children under a year old did not indicate specific reasons - such as child sexual exploitation or drug use - for a care order being made.

The spokeswoman said around 80 children per year are taken into care by the council.

She said: “Each child is subject to either an interim care order or an interim supervision order under the Children Act 1989. The authority has to show the children have suffered or are likely to suffer significant harm, or be beyond parental control, and that obviously can include a whole variety of reasons.

“It is not a decision we take lightly. It is a last resort and follows a very lengthy process.”

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, said details about the removal of babies from abuse victims were ‘one of the most upsetting parts’ of the Jay report.

She said: “I have the utmost sympathy for the children and young people who suffered during this appalling period.

“That some babies born to the victims as a direct result of such horrific abuse were taken away, and never seen by their mothers again, speaks volumes about the way these girls weren’t seen as victims at all. In my eyes, this is one of the most upsetting parts of the report.

“I intend to press the council to find out what is being done to identify both the girls and their babies, and the counselling being offered. The parents involved deserve personal apologies. It is precisely these people we should keep in mind when holding to account those who failed in child protection.”

Prof Jay’s report said many children who were the victims of abuse self-harmed and became suicidal, and others developed drug and alcohol problems.

Many suffered severe post-traumatic stress, but the report said there was ‘little or no specialist counselling or appropriate mental health intervention’.

It found the majority of victims were white girls, with most perpetrators men of Pakistani heritage.

Prof Jay said: “It is important to emphasise that, even when agencies intervened appropriately to protect and support children and young people, the impact sexual exploitation had on them was absolutely devastating.

“Time and again we read in the files and other documents of children being violently raped, beaten, forced to perform sex acts in taxis and cars when they were being trafficked between towns, and serially abused by large numbers of men. Many children repeatedly self-harmed and some became suicidal.”

It comes as the Labour party announced it is deciding whether to take ‘further action’ against its Rotherham councillors who presided over the town’s child sexual exploitation scandal.

The party is conducting its own investigation into the conduct of the Labour-run council over the period of the inquiry to review ‘what further action is necessary’.

The Jay report said senior councillors were told of the town’s abuse problems ‘in the most explicit terms’ in a seminar in 2004-05 - but did not act.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The party is reviewing what further action is necessary against any councillor who may have been involved in the appalling failure to protect children.”

Pressure is also growing on South Yorkshire Police over its handling of the issue.

 

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