Needs analysis report following the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham

Peach, DM ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1010-4802, Allen, D, Brown, P ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5692-4865, Sanghera, K, Sharif, R, Lees, J and Senior, J 2015, Needs analysis report following the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham , Project Report, University of Salford.

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Abstract

It has been an immense honour to listen to the experiences of the people of Rotherham. The project team received a warm welcome and felt humbled at the extraordinary courage of victims, survivors and their families. We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part in the study. The knowledge and opinions shared by our participants are the foundation of this report. No-one wants to think about what child sexual abuse and exploitation really means. Recognising that children have been humiliated, raped and tortured is extremely distressing. As such, it is no surprise that many felt anger and rage when they understood that those with authority failed to protect vulnerable children and young people. There is a need to face the awful reality that child sexual abuse has always happened. However, in the age of the internet, the number of children at risk of sexual abuse has increased. Those who sexually abuse children are mostly, but not always, men. Not discounting the vast number of boys who have suffered abuse, most of the known victims of sexual abuse are girls. Both victims and perpetrators come from every walk of life. The threat is such that we all have a responsibility to consider what we can do to protect every child in our family and communities. The public criticism of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) and South Yorkshire Police, following Professor Jay’s report was right and inevitable. Positively, there have been several examples of how RMBC and South Yorkshire Police have responded to criticism and improved the way they respond to victims and survivors. However, there have also been negative consequences of public scrutiny, with many people in the study reporting that they want to regain pride in their hometown. Those who took part in this study did not shy away from exploring the difficulties they face. Naturally, participants continue to talk about issues of trust, as past mistakes created a sense of vulnerability. However, there is also evidence that healing is taking place. Many participants made suggestions of how they and RMBC could and should collaborate to strengthen, individuals, families and their communities Indeed, there is a determination to meet current and future needs with a sense of collective rigour. Some of these tasks involve developing internal structures, such as communication and the provision of appropriate resources. Rotherham, like many other towns and cities in Britain, is also faced with external threats which can exacerbate internal challenges. An example of this is how recognition of the involvement of some men of Asian Pakistani heritage, in the abuse of children in Rotherham, led some political groups to capitalise on fears. However, it is clear that children are best protected in resilient families and communities. Thankfully, Rotherham and its people continue to demonstrate resilience. In addition, there is also a strong sense of realism, no-one in Rotherham expects perfection, but they do expect to do everything possible to protect children and young people. One woman made the distinction between surviving and thriving: “…I don’t want to survive, I want to thrive…” We hope this report contributes to that aim and welcome your views on the findings from data collected between April and June 2015. We recognise that the data is reflective of views expressed at that time and that RMBC and the people of Rotherham, have continued to respond to needs throughout the course of this analysis process.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Publisher: University of Salford
Funders: Rotherham MBC
Depositing User: DM Peach
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2020 08:21
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2020 08:30
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/58696

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