Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rotherham child sex abuse victim 'vindicated'

General view of Rotherham
Image caption A report in 2014 found at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual abuse in Rotherham

A survivor of sexual abuse in Rotherham has told the BBC she feels "vindicated" by a watchdog's investigation that found South Yorkshire Police did not do enough to protect her.

In a report initially leaked to the Times newspaper, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said officers failed to deal with offenders adequately.

The force has accepted the findings.

The complainant, who was repeatedly abused as a girl, said she was "astounded" when she read the report.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) report also upheld a complaint that the victim's father was told by a senior officer, whom the IOPC has been unable to identify, that the force was aware abuse "had been going on 30 years and the police could do nothing because of racial tensions".

A report in 2014 by Prof Alexis Jay found at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, predominantly by men of Pakistani heritage.

'Victims sacrificed'

"For 18 years I have being trying to prove that I'm not a liar, that I didn't make it up," said the woman, who was abused over several years from about 2003.

"I'm really, really disgusted in what were in that [the report] - basically, that victims and their families were sacrificed. Their lives ruined, living with a life sentence because of fear of racial tension."

The watchdog's report, seen by the BBC, upheld the victim's complaints that "police took insufficient action to protect you from harm" and that "police failed to adequately deal with offenders and this failure led you to be exposed to abuse".

In a statement, the force said: "South Yorkshire Police accepts the findings of this report and have been working to address the issues it raises since the publication of the Jay Report in 2014.

"After such a lengthy IOPC investigation it is disappointing that no individual officer has been identified as this is not something we would tolerate in today's force."

Earlier this week, a report found that police and social workers investigating child sex exploitation in Manchester knew children were suffering "the most profound abuse... but did not protect them".

Steve Noonan from the IOPC said the watchdog had "completed more than 90% of the inquiries" as part of its investigation into abuse in Rotherham.

"At the conclusion of all of our investigations we intend to publish an overarching report covering all of the findings, outcomes and learning from our work on Operation Linden," he said.

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