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Child abuse in Rotherham UK
August 27, 2014 3:36 PM   Subscribe

(Trigger warning) Systemic child sex abuse over at least a decade in Rotherham, involving an estimated 1400 victims. Timeline from the BBC. More news from the Guardian.. Most of the victims were white girls, many of the perpetrators were Asian men. Independent report published this week.
posted by mgrrl (73 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The reports mentioned that some of the parents who went to police ended up being arrested -- absolutely vile and shameful. Thank you for posting this...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:55 PM on August 27


Not only did some of the parents get arrested, but the Daily Mail (I know, I know) states that the report also described at least one of the victims, a 14-year old girl, herself being arrested when she was found half-naked hiding under one of the abuser's beds.

At any rate, the entire situation is grotesque and sad.
posted by Aubergine at 4:13 PM on August 27


Heard about this on the BBC last night and felt sick. I hope the people responsible pay for their crimes.
posted by Fizz at 4:14 PM on August 27


The issue of race, regardless of ethnic group, should be tackled as an absolute priority if it is known to be a significant factor in the criminal activity of organised abuse in any local community, wrote Jay

Oh cripes... This is going to explode in a very ugly way, isn't it?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:14 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


For American readers, "Asian" in UK everyday colloquial language generally means South Asian not East Asian
posted by Bwithh at 4:18 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


Yes, the guys in this case are mostly Pakistani.
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on August 27


"with some children doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight if they told anyone what had happened"

The whole thing is barbaric beyond comprehension.
posted by poe at 4:20 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Wow. I missed that petrol line the first time.

Does this happen in Pakistan? I know of instances of early marriage in several Asian communities, but not of enslaved prostitution like this.

I'm not sure how the UK deals with race issues, but it was my impression that they allowed racism to a greater extent than America (other than police interactions).
posted by halifix at 4:29 PM on August 27


This is going to explode in a very ugly way, isn't it?
Yeah, that's a real danger, but it really seems like fear of it exploding in an ugly way was part of what led to the abusers getting away with it for so long, and you can't let people get away with (and continue to perpetrate) horrific crimes just because you fear a bigoted backlash.
Does this happen in Pakistan?
I think this happens everywhere.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:34 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


I suspect South Yorkshire Police would love for the focus here to be on race as that will help conceal their utter dereliction of duty; in one shocking example, Prof Jay notes in her report that an officer accepted abusers' assertions that a twelve year old was having sex with five men consensually. It's hard to escape the suspicion that a contempt for working class young women ('slags' etc) played a larger role than sensitivity to accusations of racism, which have never seemed to affect the stop-and-search statistics.
posted by Abiezer at 4:34 PM on August 27 [62 favorites]


Holy shit, this is like a Daily Mail story come to life.
posted by Nevin at 4:38 PM on August 27


Posting without further comment.
posted by edd at 4:38 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


This is one of a number of similar cases. Why does the collision of cultures result in children getting molested?

As if Rotherham hasn't got enough problems, now it is on the map as the place where no one is held responsible for widespread child abuse.

I'm not sure how the UK deals with race issues, but it was my impression that they allowed racism to a greater extent than America 

?
posted by asok at 4:39 PM on August 27


Most of the victims were white girls, many of the perpetrators were Asian men.

Most of the victims in the report were white girls. We are really ignorant at this stage about victims who come from the same community as the perpetrators. They're often never even on the radar.

Oh cripes... This is going to explode in a very ugly way, isn't it?

I feel there's a lot of resignation rather than anger. A few years ago there was a spate of prosecutions which the media labelled together as "Asian sex gangs": often of Pakistani heritage, and almost always (nominally) Muslim. There's an expectation that there are many more Rotherhams all over England.

It's a horrifying thought both in retrospect and prospect.
posted by Thing at 4:39 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, this is like a Daily Mail story come to life.

It is the one, single, only, bloody time when "it's political correctness gone mad!" might be an appropriate response.
posted by Thing at 4:40 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


It is the one, single, only, bloody time when "it's political correctness gone mad!" might be an appropriate response.

Nope. This is a "cover your ass for not doing your job by blaming political correctness situation."
posted by incster at 4:43 PM on August 27 [21 favorites]


Some previous cases discussed.
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/the-oxford-child-sex-abuse-verdict-highlights-a-cultural-problem-but-not-a-specifically-muslim-one-8616370.html
posted by asok at 4:46 PM on August 27


I guess it's pretty much the same story as ever, the vulnerable are exploited. And what incster said.
posted by asok at 4:52 PM on August 27


incester "Nope. This is a "cover your ass for not doing your job by blaming political correctness situation."--i think that is as oversimplified as attributing it solely to political correctness. Nope and Nope--it is both and more.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:52 PM on August 27


Nope. This is a "cover your ass for not doing your job by blaming political correctness situation."


From the report:

In the broader organisational context, however, there was a widespread perception that messages conveyed by some senior people in the Council and also the Police, were to 'downplay' the ethnic dimensions of CSE. Unsurprisingly, frontline staff appeared to be confused as to what they were supposed to say and do and what would be interpreted as 'racist'. From a political perspective, the approach of avoiding public discussion of the issues was ill judged.

and

Several people interviewed expressed the general view that ethnic considerations had influenced the policy response of the Council and the Police, rather than in individual cases. One example was given by the Risky Business project Manager (1997- 2012) who reported that she was told not to refer to the ethnic origins of perpetrators when carrying out training. Other staff in children’s social care said that when writing reports on CSE cases, they were advised by their managers to be cautious about referring to the ethnicity of the perpetrators.

and

Frontline staff did not report personal experience of attempts to influence their practice or decision making because of ethnic issues. Those who had involvement in CSE were acutely aware of these issues and recalled a general nervousness in the earlier years about discussing them, for fear of being thought racist.


I know this is an overplayed aspect of the report, but it is there and it is real. We simply cannot deny that fear of accusations of racism hampered an open and frank handling of these cases.
posted by Thing at 4:53 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


So what does reporting or not reporting race have to do with, say, arresting the victims instead of the perpetrators?
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:03 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


South Yorkshire Police were frightened of being labelled racist?
I find that very difficult to believe.
posted by fullerine at 5:06 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


While I have no idea about the racial implications, I do wonder if the real issue is the socioeconomic status (or lack thereof) of the victims. Canada has a similar "problem" with 1,181 reported cases of murdered and missing aboriginal women over the past 30 years.

There is little to no political will to investigate these murders, or take steps to prevent these sorts of murders from happening in the future. The reason is because the missing and murdered women are poor and aboriginal ("Indian").

That's the real issue, and I suspect (I am not from the UK and therefore have little understanding of the situation) that is what the issue is here. These girls, many likely living in care, were considered to be expendable.
posted by Nevin at 5:10 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


Does this happen in Pakistan?...I'm not sure how the UK deals with race issues.

Well, for starters we try to assume that criminality isn't a race issue.
posted by ambrosen at 5:11 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


It's hard to escape the suspicion that a contempt for working class young women ('slags' etc) played a larger role than sensitivity to accusations of racism, which have never seemed to affect the stop-and-search statistics.

This, 1000 times THIS.
posted by scody at 5:14 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


Yeah having a hard time believing these cops are too politically correct to prosecute thousands of cases of child molestation and trafficking.

But I'm having a super easy time imagining them getting on the "IT'S POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD" bandwagon to excuse their failure.
posted by edheil at 5:14 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


So what does reporting or not reporting race have to do with, say, arresting the victims instead of the perpetrators?

South Yorkshire Police were frightened of being labelled racist?


These accusations mostly don't come from the police but from staff working for the council and handling cases. I tend to think that if the staff mentioned the fact then it was important to them and the way they worked. Social workers are mostly not right wing xenophobes either, so I trust that it's a real problem when they're reporting it. It's as far from a Daily Mail headline as you can imagine, despite what uses it may be put to.
posted by Thing at 5:15 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


>?

Bleh. I was trying to get a handle on the racism situation in UK, which I'm not greatly familiar with, but lost my train of thought. That's probably pretty intrusive, so I'll just infer from comments.
posted by halifix at 5:19 PM on August 27


I fear there are a lot more of these to come out, and by no means all will be from areas with mixed ethnicities. Large parts of the UK are pretty much all white - at least compared to areas like Rotherham - but there is a great tradition everywhere of ignoring what happens to kids in care. Which makes that system a natural target for abusers - and for the police and the politicians, it's an area seen as one in which nothing but trouble will reward investigation. (See also: the UK prison health system.)

It's no coincidence that all this is starting to come to light, after decades of official, active repression of the evidence, following the exposure of high profile unbelievably prolific offenders. Victims are starting to believe they may get a hearing, journalists are starting to believe that they'll actually break through, and there are plenty of persistent, long-standing rumours that just won't go away.

The UK has a reputation for not being particularly corrupt. What that means is that we have lots, but it's heavily institutionalised. Once the institutions start to crack, nobody knows what'll come out - and in that respect, at least, the UK powers-that-be are as committed to not letting it happen as any Chinese official. But they've lost the initiative.
posted by Devonian at 5:34 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


From the report on the sexual exploitation and murder of Child S in Rotherham:

There are a number of areas where there appears to be a lack of knowledge and understanding and should form part of training in the future they include:
− Improved knowledge of sexual exploitation and grooming including a better understanding of perpetrators.


From the Jay report:

One example was given by the Risky Business project Manager (1997- 2012) who reported that she was told not to refer to the ethnic origins of perpetrators when carrying out training.

There you have it.
posted by Thing at 5:39 PM on August 27


I hear the BBC World Service a lot and they've been giving this a lot of coverage. I'm generally well left (of Obama, et al), but with stuff like this, people who perpetrate these crimes forfeit their rights to live in a civilized society.

I've no real concern if they're in prison for life without parole or killed.

I really don't.
posted by ambient2 at 5:44 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


UNICEF rated the UK as the worst place in the developed world for child welfare in 2007, not much better five years later.
posted by BinGregory at 5:44 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


I've no real concern if they're in prison for life without parole or killed.

Ugly and gross.
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


A lack of humanity is what helped facilitate this sort of crime in the first place. You don't address or reverse a lack of humanity with more inhumanity.
posted by Nevin at 5:57 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


UNICEF rated the UK as the worst place in the developed world for child welfare in 2007, not much better five years later.
That's pretty misleading, to be honest. It ranked 16th out of 29 in 2013, which is one spot higher than Canada and 10 spots higher than the US. That's nothing to write home about, but the UK is not close to being the worst.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:00 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


While I recognize this thread is not about Canada, since the UK and Canada are at about the same spot on that UNICEF list, I would say that a fundamental problem for Canada at least is that more than one in seven Canadian children live in poverty, or about 14%. Here in British Columbia (which is supposed to be one of the richest provinces) the figure is 20%.

A lot of these kids are going to end up in care, and are therefore vulnerable to this sort of systematic abuse.
posted by Nevin at 6:10 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Read the article edd linked.

While all the blaming, finger-pointing, ass-covering, smoke-screening is going on, a whole lot of girls and some boys were systematically abused. It's incredibly sad. Whatever else happens, arrangements should be made to provide assistance to them.
posted by theora55 at 8:47 PM on August 27


But Nevin, BC has the lowest personal and corporate taxes in Canada! Think how much our government is saving you! hamburgers
posted by five fresh fish at 9:27 PM on August 27


Even before the boom Newfoundland had, with Quebec, the lowest child poverty rates.
posted by Nevin at 9:58 PM on August 27


These girls, many likely living in care, were considered to be expendable.

That's the key factor here.

Some Asian men do not view white girls as worthy of respect, certainly in comparison to the muslim girls they will one day marry. These men want to have sex but it is not available to them in their own communities. They have found that raping these white girls has few repercussions from the parts of their own community that the men inhabit, and from the justice system. Nobody appears to think a crime has been committed because for a crime you need a victim and these girls, because they are in "care", do not achieve the status of victim in the eyes of the police.

As for the girls, it seems that they get involved with these men for a few cigarettes, a bag of chips (french fries) and a lift back to the care home. That's how poor they are. The relationships continue because the girls think the men are their boyfriends, giving them status amongst other girls and the chance of love. They have never had anyone to love or to love them in their lives, and these men (they think) give them that. And that breaks my fucking heart.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 12:38 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


Why Pakistanis should be angry as everyone else with what happened in Rotherham

They are. In their own communities, the perpetrators are considered the lowest of the low.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 12:40 AM on August 28


I suspect South Yorkshire Police would love for the focus here to be on race as that will help conceal their utter dereliction of duty

Yes, the South Yorkshire Police have been utter incompetent shitheads for a long time, also being responsible for e.g. the Hillsborough disaster and the reason that this abuse has been going on for so long and so horrifically is that the police barely cared about these crimes. One police officer was supposed to have said that a 12 year old girl wasn't a victim because she consented which, well, yes.

From what I've read the social services frontline staff seem to have been raising alarm bells all along but their superiors were wary to do anything, which seems to be par for the course for these scandals and race is again a red herring. Politically of course no city council or other political authority wants a scandal like this on their doorstep and the first impulse always seems to be to cover up.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:01 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Let's also not forget that Operation Yewtree and the fallout of the Jimmy Saville revelations are still rumbling on, that there were quite a number of trusted national treasures who turned out to be kiddie fiddlers or rapists, including dear old Rolf Harris: Britain as a whole has been incredibly bad at protecting children from molestation and sexual predation.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:05 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


These girls, many likely living in care, were considered to be expendable.

I think it's more complicated than that. The young girls that we are talking about are often seen as low level criminals. They may have run away from home multiple times, have been involved in truancy, nuisance activity (drinking on the corner and swearing at passers by) or petty crime; they may have a very Bad Attitude when it comes to authority. If they aren't doing any of this, people may assume they are anyway.

The sexual activity of young girls who are lumped into this category is viewed as just another aspect of their Bad Behaviour. There's an assumption that they are hooking up with older men deliberately in return for money or drugs or a mobile phone (apparently how it often starts), and that the appropriate reaction is to punish the misbehaving kid in the same way as you would punish them for shoplifting.

It's not that people think mistreating these kids is OK because they are expendable. It's that the kids themselves are Bad and Wrong. This is where "the twelve year old kid obviously consented" comes from.
posted by emilyw at 2:12 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


UNICEF rated the UK as the worst place in the developed world for child welfare in 2007, not much better five years later.

Don't know why I dignifying this crap by quoting it but the report said nothing of the sort. Paragraph 2 of your link, if you got that far, said 16th out of 29th. So, BinGregory, if you don't know how to read you should probably refrain from commenting on threads like this one where basic comprehension is an entry level skill.
posted by epo at 2:32 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Mods: that was intemperate. Please delete my comment.
posted by epo at 2:45 AM on August 28


Some Asian men do not view white girls as worthy of respect, certainly in comparison to the muslim girls they will one day marry. These men want to have sex but it is not available to them in their own communities.

The report points out that the abuse of Muslim girls was also taking place and that this makes sense, given that most child abuse is committed by someone who knows the victim.

From the report:

“The Inquiry spoke to several Pakistani-heritage women who felt disenfranchised by this and thought it was a barrier to people coming forward to talk about CSE. Others believed there was wholesale denial of the problem in the Pakistani-heritage community in the same way that other forms of abuse were ignored. Representatives of women's groups were frustrated that interpretations of the Borough's problems with CSE were often based on an assumption that similar abuse did not take place in their own community and therefore concentrated mainly on young white girls.”

and

“Pakistani-heritage girls were targeted by taxi drivers and on occasion by older men lying in wait outside school gates at dinner times and after school. They also cited cases in Rotherham where Pakistani landlords had befriended Pakistani women and girls on their own for purposes of sex, then passed on their name to other men who had then contacted them for sex. The women and girls feared reporting such incidents to the Police because it would affect their future marriage prospects.”
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:03 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


devious truculent and unreliable - Some Asian men do not view white girls as worthy of respect, certainly in comparison to the muslim girls they will one day marry...

For what it's worth, the report doesn't seem to support this view:
The Deputy Children's Commissioner’s report reached a similar conclusion to the Muslim Women's Network research, stating 'one of these myths was that only white girls are victims of sexual exploitation by Asian or Muslim males, as if these men only abuse outside of their own community, driven by hatred and contempt for white females. This belief flies in the face of evidence that shows that those who violate children are most likely to target those who are closest to them and most easily accessible.' The Home Affairs Select Committee quoted witnesses saying that cases of Asian men grooming Asian girls did not come to light because victims 'are often alienated and ostracised by their own families and by the whole community, if they go public with allegations of abuse.
Obviously one could argue that these data are tainted by the same bias as we're talking about in this story, but I don't have the background knowledge to get into that.

While not surprising, it's also pretty depressing to read the report with an eye to the treatment of adult women. I've only skimmed it, really, but stuff like:
There was too much reliance by agencies on traditional community leaders such as elected members and imams as being the primary conduit of communication with the Pakistani-heritage community. The Inquiry spoke to several Pakistani-heritage women who felt disenfranchised by this and thought it was a barrier to people coming forward to talk about CSE.
and
However, several of those involved in the operational management of services reported some attempts to pressurise them into changing their approach to some issues. This mainly affected the support given to Pakistani-heritage women fleeing domestic violence, where a small number of councillors had demanded that social workers reveal the whereabouts of these women or effect reconciliation rather than supporting the women to make up their own minds.
...leapt out at me. I mean, it palls in comparison to child rape, but what a shitshow.

(FWIW, while the report is unpleasant to read for the obvious reasons, it's very clearly written and logically structured. Well worth taking a look at if you're interested.)
posted by metaBugs at 3:04 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


(Whoops, should've previewed)
posted by metaBugs at 3:05 AM on August 28


I wonder if the Press will now conveniently forget about that one white celebrity who probably abused as many children and dead corpses as this group of abusers who happen to be Asian. Then there are the white Politicians and other white celebs allegedly involved in visiting Guest houses for kiddy sex parties.

If we argue the cases in Rotherham are a cultural problem then there is also something seriously fucked about white culture.

Hopefully we can look at everything that's now coming out and realise it's not about culture or race but a failing by the authorities to look after the vulnerable in society and prosecute evil fuckers regardless of their colour or standing.
posted by twistedonion at 3:35 AM on August 28


I'm confused here because everyone's saying the victims are people who were in the care system, but the headlines I've seen say 30% of the children were known to social services, which seems a very low figure for children in care. What I read it as is the societal failure not just to protect children in the state's custody, but also a failure to provide a reporting system and an environment in which all children understand and know that help is available without question.
posted by ambrosen at 3:57 AM on August 28


I think that the report makes clear that mostly, there was an absolute failure at all levels to care about these girls. Reports are made to the police, but not followed up or worse, the victims (or their parents) are arrested whilst the abusers go free. The Council creates various committees and groups, who achieve nothing. The one charity that seems to work and connect with the girls involved is criticised by the Council and their referrals are ignored.

One part of the report which really stuck with me was this:

"The Police carried out an audit of 87 files in 2005, which resulted in them proposing that large numbers of girls be removed from the Sexual Exploitation Forum monitoring process. Risky Business challenged the factual accuracy and completeness of some of the information in the audit, raising serious concerns about many of the girls involved, where it was recommended they be removed from monitoring. The Police reason for removing several girls from monitoring was they were pregnant or had given birth. All looked after children were removed from the list.”

Why on earth would these children be removed from the list? It doesn't make any sense unless the bottom line is that the authorities considered these girls worthless. This is one of the reasons that I think its angered me that the race element has been focused on by so much of the media when the report sets out so clearly that these events were so rooted in the misogyny at the heart of the police and local authority.
posted by threetwentytwo at 4:37 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


epo, I'm sorry to upset you. I only meant to point out, as others have, that a lack of concern for the social welfare of kids like these at a national level contributes to something like this happening. For the record, in the fourth paragraph of the linked article, it says:
The UK has crept up the child well-being tables since Unicef's last report in 2007, which controversially branded Britain the worst place in the developed world to be a child, ranked 21st out of 21.
posted by BinGregory at 4:54 AM on August 28


Why on earth would these children be removed from the list? It doesn't make any sense unless the bottom line is that the authorities considered these girls worthless.

The young girls were, in the majority, considered by the authorities to be members of an underclass? Trash? And therefore treated as such? Hence easy to discard?
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:19 AM on August 28


I'm so angry I am shaking.

I want to write a long reply about race and sex and morality but all I can think about is fear.

Because the moment it changes from a couple of cigarettes to sex the girls know they are being exploited. As an incest survivor I knew that what was going on was a secret and bad and I could die for telling. I knew how very trapped I was. I may not have been able to explain or communicate it but my body and my mind knew. And I lived that way. And the community weather they knew or not encouraged behavior through social and cultural norms. But they didn't mean that people say. It really doesn't matter in the end.

Perpetrators use society to encourage and reenforce their behavior to keep victims as victims. The structure encourages and allows for men to control children of their own and others.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:51 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


I know what is upsetting me most now. And yes it is connected to my story as a middle class white girl in rural america. I was a abused sexually from a very young age. My behaviors as a teenager and young adult were easily assigned to other life situations. At first it was that my mother became wheelchair bound and was very sick from when I was a young age. The It was that my dad had to work extra hard because he was the breadwinner as my mother couldn't work. The It was that my brother was a substance use. Then it was my parents divorce. And I've always thought that I did not do a good job explaining because of my fear. And it is true I didn't have words. But the isolation and the hypervilliagance and the fear of touch. The social awkwardness and inappropriate boundaries. The self injury. The extreme disassociation. The blatant PTSD. The eating disorder.

I was in therapy when I was 15. My first therapist told my abuser that he thought I'd been abused but I wouldn't tell him anything. My second therapist attributed it to my brothers problems and a separate childhood rape. My brother attempted suicide 6 times before he was 16 and it was attributed to him being oppositional. He was made a ward of the state but still lived with my family.

None of it came back to my parents. No one made the connection of severe abuse even though it was in front of their faces.

This is an international problem.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:16 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I wrote further up that I didn't think the kids were viewed as "expendable" so much as "misbehaving".

Then I read further into the report where it discusses the atmosphere in the local council between male council officers and female council officers. The report provides "some of the less offensive quotations".

'It was a very grubby environment in which to work'
'A colleague was told she ought to wear shorter skirts to meetings and she'd get on better'
'A senior member said on four occasions in public places "you women are only fit for cooking, washing and darning" ‘
'A senior member said I know what I'd like to do to you if I was ten years' younger’


Now I wonder whether some of those council officers viewed the kids as the absconding property of the perpetrators, or as working prostitutes whose services could usefully remain on the market.
posted by emilyw at 6:30 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]



Rotherham won't be the only place.

The Sun newspapers (and other newspapers) attempts to use this to smear the Labour party and the welfare state are beyond vile.

And, then, what about the ongoing investigations into child-abuse in "high places"?
http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5282/pressure-builds-in-parliament-to-address-child-sex-abuse-in-uk

You can't help wondering that the reason the whole issue of child abuse isn't more widely investigated is because .... "where would it end?"
posted by rolandroland at 7:13 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Martin Kimber, chief executive of Rotherham council - I cannot find anything that is sufficiently explicit about any single individual to make any professional practice referral.

An insight into the world of council executives, a notoriously insular group of self serving cretins, overpaid and bereft of morality, almost without exception. The government cuts to council funding are not going to help the situation, the people who do the actual front line work get minimal pay and maximum stress. This is a result of government policy promoting private sector-like competition and management remuneration spiraling out of control.

Dave Prentis, Unison - two thirds of local government workers earn less than £21,000-a-year and are facing a three-year pay freeze. There should not be such a gap between those at the top and those at the bottom. The pay freeze will only make it worse.

It doesn't surprise me at all that the atmosphere fostered by the executives is toxic and damaging to those in the organisation who do actually care.

rolandroland - You can't help wondering that the reason the whole issue of child abuse isn't more widely investigated is because .... "where would it end?"

I think I have commented before in similar threads that the men who are convicted, vile thought their behaviour has been, are just the scapegoats for a more powerful, richer or more connected group of offenders.
posted by asok at 7:24 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


scapegoats for a more powerful, richer or more connected group of offenders

The only thing that will shock me at this point about Rotherham is if it doesn't come out that the police were directly involved in the abuse and/or trafficking itself. It beggars belief to think that a network of local abusers that operated this widely and for this long didn't require police protection of some sort (possibly a group of cops acting on their own, or possibly the entire department acting in collusion), nor that at least some of those cops wouldn't take part in raping girls themselves.

It certainly doesn't require police raping girls and women to react dismissively to girls and women having been raped, of course. But the actively aggressive dismissiveness, intimidation, and hostility that was deployed here toward so many children and families suggests that the police have a lot more to hide besides their own investigative incompetence.
posted by scody at 8:37 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


There are no adequate words to describe the horror at the scope of these abuses.

Jesus wept.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:01 AM on August 28


Rotten boroughs with councillors-for-life; crap towns; cultures of impunity.

I have no words.
posted by holgate at 12:01 PM on August 28


The only thing that will shock me at this point about Rotherham is if it doesn't come out that the police were directly involved in the abuse and/or trafficking itself.
Daniel Cookson, a police constable from Rotherham, appears in court charged with causing a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity
posted by Abiezer at 1:04 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


The thing with investigating is that it doesn't end. There is a fantastic article and I cannot find it myself (I think it's called sanitize this) about how doctors in the early 1900 perpetuated that STD s came from toilet seats to explain away the high number of young girls coming in with STD s from their parents.

My abuser is extremely well respected in his community. It just is. There is nothing I can do about it

Anyone can choose to commit a crime against the most vulnerable.

On an unrelated note fffm and this is more personal than anything please remember that some sects of various religions use religious teaching to perpetuate abuse. I'm not saying that you are but it is something you could watch out for here in this space. Thanks.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:59 PM on August 28


In a further blow to [South Yorkshire Police], the HMIC [HM Inspectorate of Constabulary] report highlighted significant under recording of crimes sent to its specialist units by other agencies. “This level of under-recorded crime is a significant cause of concern and is a matter of material and urgent importance, particularly as some of these relate to violence and sexual assault against vulnerable children,” said the report.

It said that the force’s public protection unit – which deals with hate crime, domestic abuse and sex crimes – spent a “great deal of time trying to disprove the word of the victim from the outset, rather than record the crime”.
Rotherham sex abuse officers ‘still try to prove victims are lying
posted by Abiezer at 2:36 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I'm well aware of that, AlexiaSky. Which is more or less why I said that; no religious sect (mainly Christian, but also extant in other religions) that does such a thing is following a single thing about what Jesus taught. I apologize that my meaning wasn't clear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:36 PM on August 28


Rotherham sex abuse officers ‘still try to prove victims are lying’

How the actual hell are they allowed to be police officers?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:39 PM on August 28


Fffm your meaning was clear.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:02 PM on August 28


This is going to explode in a very ugly way, isn't it?

Not if the three links have anything to do with it. I note that the words "Muslim" and "Islam" are studiously avoided in the time line as well as the Guardian. I note also that neither accept comments. In the PDF, Muslim appears three times, once in a neutral context, twice to refer to Muslim victims.

That's bending over a little too far backwards.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:44 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


That's bending over a little too far backwards.

See also Fisk in the Indy on one of the previous Muslim rape gang cases.
posted by pw201 at 2:27 AM on August 29


Even though I don't live in the UK, my takeaway from this is to not despair, but to determine how I, as a citizen, can help prevent this from happening in my own community.
posted by Nevin at 9:13 AM on August 29


The only thing that will shock me at this point about Rotherham is if it doesn't come out that the police were directly involved in the abuse and/or trafficking itself. It beggars belief to think that a network of local abusers that operated this widely and for this long didn't require police protection of some sort (possibly a group of cops acting on their own, or possibly the entire department acting in collusion), nor that at least some of those cops wouldn't take part in raping girls themselves.

The simple answer is that the police just didn't give a fuck. I mean, why bother? Those girls are damaged goods. They found a 12 year old, drunk in the back of a car with two men. The men had sexually explicit pictures on their mobile phones. I, along with about every other person I know would say "prosecute the fuck out of these men, put their names and faces up around the local areas they hang out at and make sure that they are suitably punished and shamed." What did the cops do? From what I've read in the report they arrested the girls (and sometimes their parents) for being disorderly.

I live in Rotherham and I can safely say that I, to this day, would *never* let either of my daughters get in a taxi on their own in this town. It is rotten to the core and the five convictions are absolutely the tip of the iceberg. Read the full report, it's about 170 odd pages. It filled me with cold rage but now I'm looking to see what I can do in the local area. First job, get rid of the useless fuck of a PCC who happened to be on the council at the time. "Lessons were learned".

Too little, too late you fucking buffoon.
posted by longbaugh at 12:11 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


The sexual exploitation of teenage girls was "endemic" in Sheffield during the early 2000s, a former care home worker has claimed.

Virtually identical story, in the city just a few miles up the road.
posted by metaBugs at 7:26 AM on September 19


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