Dozens of victims of the Rotherham child abuse scandal are still waiting for compensation payouts from the authorities that failed them to be agreed – despite many already having given evidence in court that resulted in criminal convictions.
More than 50 civil claims against South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council for failing vulnerable girls who were preyed on by gangs of paedophiles in the town remain outstanding, with five cases settled so far with payouts running into six figures.
Among those whose cases are outstanding are several women who gave evidence as part of Operation Clover, an investigation that eventually resulted in 13 people being given combined jail sentences of 199 years after more than 20 victims gave evidence in two trials in 2015 and 2016.
One of those whose claims are still progressing is Sammy Woodhouse, who has waived her anonymity after her evidence assisted with the conviction of serial child abuser Arshid Hussain, who is serving a 35-year jail sentence.
Miss Woodhouse was sexually and physically abused from the age of 14 by Hussain, a serial child abuser known as ‘Mad Ash’ who was 24 when they met. Hussain made her pregnant twice and she had a child when she was 15 but police took no action against him at the time despite it being reported by her family.
The trials revealed how Hussain, his three brothers and their associates had raped, tortured and prostituted young girls with impunity in the town for years. Despite her testimony being believed by a jury, Miss Woodhouse says she is repeatedly having to relive her experiences of abuse as part of the compensation process and has recently been asked to attend another hearing by lawyers for the authorities.
“To be honest, it is horrendous. You sit there for four hours and it basically like being sat in a courtroom. You have to go through everything again and how it has affected you. It is quite brutal.
“They just try to wriggle out of absolutely everything. In my case, they tried saying I could have had a bad life without meeting Ash. It feels like everything is a constant fight. If I didn’t have any evidence, I would get it but it is a solid case.”