Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Asian women in Rotherham 'threatened with rape'

Sarah Champion
Image caption MP Sarah Champion said white men from far-right groups had threatened Asian women in Rotherham with rape

Verbal abuse and threats of rape have been levelled at young Asian women in Rotherham, an MP has said.

Sarah Champion, the Rotherham Central MP, made the remarks in a BBC debate on how the town should move on after a report on child sexual exploitation.

But South Yorkshire Police said while reports of abuse directed at Asian people had increased, incidents of violence had not.

The debate will be aired on BBC Radio Sheffield at 09:00 GMT on Wednesday.

The report by Prof Alexis Jay, published in August, revealed that 1,400 children in Rotherham had been sexually exploited by gangs of men, predominantly of Pakistani origin, between 1997 and 2013.

The findings prompted marches in the town by right-wing groups the English Defence League, in September and November, and Britain First in October.

Ms Champion told the BBC: "I had a meeting with eight young Asian girls and they told me they've been too scared to go into town for the past three months because when they do, they get threatened.

"Since the [marches] coming through, they said they've been getting white right-wing men having a go at them in town."

Ms Champion said the men had suggested they would rape the women to "even things up".

South Yorkshire Police said it had not received any reports of this kind of incident but urged anyone who had witnessed this to contact police.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police said reports of verbal abuse directed at Asians have increased in Rotherham since the Jay report, but actual violence has not

Earlier this week, 80 people signed a pledge to tackle child sexual exploitation in the town and an awareness campaign, Spot the Signs, was launched across South Yorkshire.

Listen to the debate on how Rotherham should move on BBC Radio Sheffield at 09:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Rotherham abuse scandal: Key dates

26 August: Professor Jay's report is published. Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone steps down with immediate effect.

2 September: South Yorkshire Police commissions independent investigation into its handling of the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

8 September: Martin Kimber, chief executive of Rotherham Council, announces he will leave his post in December.

16 September: South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright resigns.

19 September: Joyce Thacker, head of children's services at Rotherham Council, resigns.

18 October: Home Affairs Select Committee calls for investigation into allegations files relating to the abuse scandal went missing.

19 November: Two Ofsted reports announce that local councils across England are insufficiently equipped to deal with issues of child sex exploitation.

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