Rotherham abuse scandal: Authorities' decisions to take away babies born to abused girls caused yet more suffering

The report found 'further trauma' was caused to young mothers

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The Independent Online

Many babies born to victims of the grooming and sexual exploitation in Rotherham documented in a damning report have been taken away from their mothers, causing them further trauma.

Sarah Champion, the town's MP, said some of the children, often born to teenage girls with little means to support them, will never again be seen by the abuse victims.

The Labour MP is investigating what counselling the women have been offered, saying that authorities’ decision to take away the infants “spoke volumes” about how the children were not treated as victims.

Professor Alexis Jay’s devastating report revealed the scale of sexual exploitation in the town that subjected at least 1,400 children to appalling abuse, including grooming, abuse and trafficking over 16 years from 1997.

In the analysis she wrote: “In a number of the cases we read, children and young people had pregnancies, miscarriages and terminations.

"Some had children removed under care orders and suffered further trauma when contact with their child was terminated and alternative family placements found.

Professor Alexis Jay led the investigation into child abuse in Rotherham

“This affected not just the victims themselves, but other siblings who had developed attachments to the baby.

"However, there were other cases where vulnerable and sometimes very young mothers were able, with appropriate long-term support, to recover and successfully care for their children."

One young mother affected by the abuse was 17-year-old Laura Wilson, who was stabbed to death in 2010 by her boyfriend after she revealed their relationship to his family.

She began an intense relationship with Ashtiaq Asghar when they were aged 15 and 16 respectively but later had an affair with his friend, married Ishaq Hussain.

She became pregnant and had Hussain’s child but he refused to support her or accept the little girl was his, Sheffield Crown Court heard during the murder trial.

Laura resumed her relationship with Asghar after the birth but he continued to insist it was kept a secret from his religious family, who were from Pakistan.

When her daughter was four-months-old, Laura visited the homes of both men to tell their families about the relationships but while Hussain’s family were dismissive, Asghar’s mother was angry, the court heard.

Three days later, the 18-year-old lured her to a canal in Rotherham and stabbed her 40 times, later admitting the murder and being jailed for 17 years and six months.

At least 1,400 children were abused in Rotherham over a 16 year period

Speaking after a serious case review that found social care agencies had missed “numerous” chances to help Laura, the chairman of Rotherham’s child safeguarding board claimed she could not have been saved.

Alan Hazell said: "There is no suggestion that anyone could have saved (Laura) from what ultimately happened to her but clearly her care could have been improved."

Changes were made based on the case review’s 37 recommendations but they were not enough to stop the exploitation and abuse that continues to this day, according to Professor Jay’s investigation.

Ms Champion, who was elected as Rotherham’s Labour MP in 2012, called for personal apologies for all victims from “those who failed” to protect them.

"I have the utmost sympathy for the children and young people who suffered during this appalling period,” she said.

"That some babies born to the victims as a direct result of such horrific abuse were taken away and never seen by their mothers again speaks volumes about the way these children weren't seen as victims at all."

Additional reporting by PA