SNP taken to task for delay in tackling sex abuse

Aileen Campbell: Told by Labour MSP David Stewart of public petition committee's 'dissatisfaction'. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Aileen Campbell: Told by Labour MSP David Stewart of public petition committee’s ‘dissatisfaction’. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Scottish Government has come under fire for dragging its heels in producing firm plans to tackle child sex abuse in the aftermath of the recent Rotherham scandal.

A Holyrood committee head has warned that “complacency” could risk an abuse scandal in Scotland similar to the Yorkshire revelations which have rocked the UK establishment.
Labour MSP David Stewart, who heads the public petitions committee, said ministers had pledged to produce a national action plan on the issue by the end of the summer, but have so far failed to do so.
“If we are to avoid another Rotherham, complacency cannot be an option,” he said.
“As a crucial first step, we must understand the extent of child sexual abuse in Scotland.”
He has now written to Aileen Campbell, the minister for children and young people, expressing the committee’s “dissatisfaction” after their report earlier this year warned Scotland has no “clear strategy” to tackle the issue.

Scottish Government ministers and officials recently met Alexis Jay, author of the Rotherham report, and said an action plan will be published “very shortly”.
“Child sexual exploitation is an abhorrent crime and we continue to work with local authorities, law enforcement agencies, children’s charities and other third sector organisations, as well as Parliament, to tackle this issue,” a government spokesman said.
The Rotherham scandal lifted the lid on widespread child sexual abuse in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013, and its subsequent cover-up. Prof Jay’s report estimated up to 1,400 girls had been abused.
A public inquiry has since been announced into the extent of abuse across England throughout this period, but its first two chairs, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf, have quit over links to establishment figures. The SNP government has resisted calls for a Scottish inquiry,