THE WOMAN who helped expose Rotherham’s sex abuse scandal will take up a key role working with victims as they renew their bid for justice.
Former youth town worker Jayne Senior was among the first to flag up concerns even police and council officials turned a blind eye to widespread child abuse.
Ms Senior managed the Risky Business group- the only organisation to be commended in the Jay report - and will now work with Rotherham MP Sarah Champion to look at what can be done to support the 1,400 victims identified as being the subject of sexual assault or rape by gangs of mostly Asian men in the town.
The Labour MP secured extra funding from parliament to hire the new assistant who will accompany victims to meet the South Yorkshire Police force which failed them for more than a decade.
It comes day after it emerged the National Crime Agency has been appointed to investigate failings by South Yorkshire Police, including claims that records were stolen from the children’s charity.
Ms Senior said: “I will be making contact with victims who have asked Sarah Champion for help and will support them in meeting with the police to give statements regarding their abuse. I will also be working with agencies to ensure the correct and relevant support is in place.
“I will be writing a community awareness raising programme that I hope will be delivered throughout the constituency by organisations within the voluntary sector . These sessions will assist people to recognise the warning signs of child sexual exploitation and show them how to report concerns. I will also be developing a training package for professionals that goes back to basics and looks at the grooming process. This will be developed from the voice of the victims.
“Sarah and I will work closely to make sure that child exploitation is recognised by statutory organisations nationally and that resources are available to tackle this heinous crime”
Ms Champion said many of the victims who have contacted her since the Jay report was published have said they have no faith in the police or the council to treat them fairly. At a Commons select committee this week the new council leader Paul Lakin admitted there was a culture of male-dominated bullying at Rotherham for years.
Ms Champion said: “I have been overwhelmed with the number of victims contacting me in the last six weeks. I feel a moral duty to ensure that they receive support, care and justice, as they have been let down in the past and I need to know this won’t happen again.
“Jayne Senior will be working directly with the victims to give them the support they need to give evidence, rebuild their lives and move forwards. In addition, Jayne will work with me to challenge the police and local authority to make sure they deliver an exemplary service to these victims, which is something that has been sadly lacking to date.”