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Rotherham child abuse scandal: 1,400 children exploited, report finds
Rotherham child exploitation report Live
At least 1,400 children were subjected to "appalling" sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, a report has found.
Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated it said.
The report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council in 2013, revealed there had been three previous inquiries.
Five men from the town were jailed for sexual offences against girls in 2010.
'Doused in petrol'
Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the latest report, said there had been "blatant" collective failures by the council's leadership, senior managers had "underplayed" the scale of the problem and South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.
Prof Jay said police "regarded many child victims with contempt" and that by far the majority of perpetrators were described as 'Asian' by victims".
Despite this, the report concluded: "Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so."
Revealing details of the inquiry's findings, Prof Jay said: "It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered."
She said she found examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone".
Failures by those charged with protecting children happened despite three reports between 2002 and 2006 which both the council and police were aware of, and "which could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham".
She said the first of these reports was "effectively suppressed" because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored, she said.
The inquiry team found that in the early 2000s when a group of professionals attempted to monitor a number of children believed to be at risk, "managers gave little help or support to their efforts".
The report revealed some people at a senior level in the police and children's social care thought the extent of the problem was being "exaggerated".
Prof Jay said: "The authorities involved have a great deal to answer for."