Liberal social workers turned a blind eye to sexual exploitation for fear of being racists
The sexual abuse of about 1,400 children at the hands of Muslim men went unreported for 16 years because staff feared they would be seen as racist, a report said today.
Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the council commissioned review into child protection revealed. And shockingly, more than a third of the cases were already know to agencies.
But according to the report's author: 'several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist'.
Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, condemned the 'blatant' collective failures by the council's leadership, concluding: 'It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered.'
The landmark report which exposed widespread failures of the council, police and social services revealed:
Victims were doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, terrorised with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and told they would be the next if they spoke out;
They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated;
One victim described gang rape as 'a way of life';
Police 'regarded many child victims with contempt';
Some fathers tried to rescue their children from abuse but were arrested themselves;
The approximate figure of 1,400 abuse victims is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale of abuse. The lack of reports was partly down to a fear of being racist, Prof Jay wrote, as the majority of the perpetrators were described as 'Middle Eastern men', and many were said to be of Pakistani origin. One young person told the inquiry that 'gang rape' was a usual part of growing up in the area of Rotherham where she lived.