Rotherham child abuse - the victims’ stories: doused with petrol and told she would be set alight

Children as young as 11 were raped, and then further exploited when put in care

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The Independent Online

Child B, 15, fell in love with her groomer and had  been frequently trafficked to Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield. She had suffered numerous threats and was once doused in petrol and told she would be set alight. By the time she was 18, she had become homeless and referred herself to children’s social care. No further action was taken.

Child H was 12 when she was found drunk at the back of a car with a suspected paedophile, who had indecent photos of her on his phone. She had previously told  police she had been raped by adult men. Social services eventually assessed her as being at no further risk. Less than a month later she was found in a derelict house  with another child and a number of adult men. She was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and no other arrests were made.

Children L and M were from ethnic minorities and part of a wider police investigation into a school where a number of children were reported to be getting into cars with strangers and getting paid in return for performing sex acts. Language difficulties and cultural differences  made it difficult for authorities to liaise with their families.

Child I was raped and  sexually assaulted aged 11. She regularly went missing and was frequently raped by older males. Such were concerns over her safety that  she was put into care, only to be further abused and exploited. She suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and self-harmed. 

Child N was 12 when “extremely indecent” images of her were discovered on phones of her fellow students. There were suspicions that older men and one woman had groomed her via Facebook. Her family were shocked by the material but the child showed “no understanding of the risks of online contact with strangers” and was not willing to disclose anything about those who groomed and exploited her.

Child F was 13 when she had been groomed for sexual exploitation by a 27-year-old male. She was subjected to repeated rapes and sexual exploitation by different perpetrators, none of whom were brought to justice. After threatening to kill herself, she was eventually placed in secure care.

Child K was engaged in a relationship with a sex offender that first started on Facebook when she was just 13. Social services have since observed a pattern of “high-risk behaviour” with her being admitted to A&E after excessive drinking, having a series of relationships with older men and frequenting areas where young people are known to be at risk.

Child E became a looked-after child when she was 12 after growing up in an abusive family to parents with mental health problems. She was subject to child abuse while in care at a local children’s unit. Described as “naive and desperate for affection”, authorities said she was vulnerable to coercion and frequently exploited by adult males who she thought were her boyfriends.