Rotherham sex abuse survivor launches criminal charges campaign against police and council bosses

Rotherham toen centre.
Rotherham toen centre.

A petition set up by an abuse survivor calling for a criminal investigation into council and police chiefs in connection with the Rotherham child sex scandal has attracted thousands of signatures.

Almost 14, 000 people have put their name to the online campaign less than a week after it was launched by a woman known as 'Elizabeth' on the site.

She said it will be presented to Prime Minister Theresa May once it reaches 15, 000 in a bid to force a criminal investigation to be launched into the previous senior management teams at Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police.

The petition was launched after a wide-ranging inquiry concluded that no current or former managers should face criminal charges for their conduct between 1997 and 2013.

This followed the publication of the Jay Report which ruled that at least 1, 400 children had been abused or groomed largely by men of Pakistani heritage during those 16 years and criticised the authorities for failing to act.

On the petition profile Elizabeth expressed her disappointment that those in charge will face no action and said: "I and 1, 400 other girls feel we have become victims once again, we are totally devastated.

"Once again we have been totally ignored and let down."

A 114-page report published last week by the Gowling law firm, which was a summary of six separate investigations, ruled there had been 'missed opportunities' in how the authorities dealt with CSE cases, but ultimately ruled there should be no legal or disciplinary proceedings against any individuals.

A Rotherham Council spokesperson said: “These reports were not commissioned as criminal investigations, as it is not within the council’s powers to do so.

"The council commissioned these independent investigations to determine whether or not there are grounds for the council to commence disciplinary or capability proceedings against any of the senior officers referred to in the reports, whether there are matters which should be referred to current employers of former senior officers and whether any senior officer should be referred to a regulator for professional misconduct.

“Any criminal investigation would be a matter for South Yorkshire Police and the National Crime Agency. We have shared these reports with them.”

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: "We have reviewed all the reports which were published by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council on 6 September, and in particular have considered in detail comments made by the author of the Gowling Report. As a result, we have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to justify a criminal investigation.

“The Independent Police Complaints Commission is currently conducting 88 individual investigations into South Yorkshire Police officers regarding their handling of CSE in Rotherham. The outcomes of these investigations are expected next year.”