Rotherham child sex abuse victims were dismissed by police as ‘silly girls’ and ‘lovesick teenagers’, secret recording reveals
- Report earlier this year found 1,400 children had been abused in town
- Now fresh details emerge of how police blamed victims for the abuse
- Secret recording of an officer talking to a victim made in March last year
- The officer states police used to see victims as ‘lovesick teenagers’
- Cases now referred to the Independent Police Complaint Commission
Police in Rotherham dismissed child abuse victims as ‘lovesick teenagers’ and ‘silly girls’, shocking new evidence reveals.
Council officials from the South Yorkshire town resigned earlier this year after a damning report found at least 1,400 children were abused over a 16 year period.
Further details have now emerged of how police turned a blind eye to the horrific crimes and even blamed the young victims.
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Fresh details have emerged of how police turned a blind eye to child sex abuse in Rotherham, with a secret recording revealing an officer said victims were treated as ‘silly girls’
A recording of a meeting between a former abuse victim and a police officer obtained by The Times appears to shows that police now accept their past approach was wrong.
In the tape recording, made in March last year, an officer tells the victim: ‘Before, they’d see it as a lovesick teenager that keeps going back to her fella. Now we identify it as grooming.
‘In the past, people’s opinions were; “that silly girl keeps going back”.’
A report by a police family support worker to a girl abused aged just 13, stated: ‘Police have told [her]… if we see you in Rotherham with them we’ll just think it’s that little tart back again.’
A number of incidents have now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating 14 former and serving officers.
Two of the incidents referred to the watchdog involve police arresting the victims of reported abuse while no action was taken against alleged offenders.
Former South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright (left) resigned after a damning report by investigator, Professor Alexis Jay (right)
In one case, a mother of an alleged victim was told it would breach her 13-year-old daughter’s human rights to examine her mobile phone, following interactions with 150 Asian men.
A former officer told the Times’s Andrew Norfolk that fears over being seen as a racist were partly to blame for the scandal.
FALLING ON DEAF EARS: HOW ONE 13-YEAR-OLD VICTIM WAS DISMISSED
One victim of the abuse told her mother of multiple rapes when she was just 13 years old.
She was threatened after going to police and withdrew her complaint, leading officers to deem her claims ‘not true’.
The girl was then groomed and raped again and a social worker contacted police. But the girl’s family were told she could be prosecuted for wasting police time.
After arrests were finally made,six months after the initial complaint, the girl’s family were told to ‘take responsibility for their daughter’.
They were then told the police would not pursue the case because the girl ‘could not be classified as a strong witness’. The case was then referred to the CPS, who decided not to take it to court.
Seven years later, a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority ruled the girl had been raped and sexually abused and awarded her £20,000 compensation.
The source said: ‘In South Yorkshire, you feared to tread in certain areas because of the racial dimensions.’
Despite Muslims representing less than four per cent of population of the area, the police set up a special community cohesion task force in 2001.
Islamic prayer rooms were also set up in two police stations.
Sources say that intelligence on abuse was filed into a ‘black hole’ on the force’s system.
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: ‘We are now operating with a deeper understanding of child sexual exploitation. We are acutely aware of the grooming process and the impact it has on a child.
‘It leads the victim to view the behaviour as normal and not recognise themselves as victims.
‘The cruel process used by groomers encourages the victims to return to them – this is not consent and will not be deemed as such by South Yorkshire Police.
‘All frontline officers and specialist staff have now been trained in relation to child sexual exploitation and spotting the signs.’
The force said that since the Alexis Jay Report into the abuse earlier this year, a further 23 people have been arrested and four have been charged. More than 180 offences linked to child sex abuse are currently under investigation.
The force have said intelligence in the cases was effectively dealt with.
Police in South Yorkshire insist they now treat potential cases of child sex abuse with better understanding. File photo
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812398/Rotherham-child-sex-abuse-victims-dismissed-police-silly-girls-lovesick-teenagers-secret-recording-reveals.html#ixzz3HZSp2AH1
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