Rotherham delegation press David Cameron for more action on child abuse

David Cameron meets delegation from Rotherham, including Professor Alexis Jay, MP Sarah Champion and Risky Business' Jayne Senior
David Cameron meets delegation from Rotherham, including Professor Alexis Jay, MP Sarah Champion and Risky Business' Jayne Senior

A Rotherham abuse victim is pressing for more Government action to help survivors after meeting David Cameron.

The woman, known as Jessica, was among a delegation that met the Prime Minister earlier this week to discuss the child sexual exploitation scandal.

The group also included Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, Professor Alexis Jay whose report exposed the Rotherham scandal and Jayne Senior, the former manager of the Risky Business project which warned of the town’s grooming problems more than a decade ago.

Jessica, who was abused between the ages of 14 and 16 in the early 2000s, welcomed a Government commitment to spend £1.2m on recruiting specialist foster carers in South Yorkshire, as well as £250,000 that will be spent on re-establishing a Risky Business-style service in Rotherham.

But she said more still needs to be done, with projects like Risky Business being set up around the country.

The meeting came on the same day that a new report revealed up to 370 girls in Oxfordshire may have been abused over a 15-year period.

Jessica said: “It just proves what everybody has been saying - it is a problem all over the country. It is everywhere. There are a lot of stories that haven’t come out yet.”

Mr Cameron has also revealed new proposals to jail public officials and councillors who fail to protect children from sexual exploitation.

The crime of ‘wilful neglect’ will be extended to cover children’s social care and education.

After speaking to the Rotherham delegation, Mr Cameron told Sky News: “I’ve just spent half an hour with some of the survivors of abuse in Rotherham and these are stories that are going to stay with me forever. They are absolutely horrific, what has happened.

“I think it’s very important we take a step back and just recognise the horrific nature of what has happened in our country. Young girls - and they are young girls - being abused over and over again on an industrial scale, being raped, being passed from one bunch of perpetrators to another bunch of perpetrators.

“This has happened with too many organisations and too many people walking on by.”

Jessica has set up a petition calling for more funding for counselling for abuse victims.

Visit www.change.org/p/ministry-of-justice-make-more-funding-available-for-counselling-services-for-child-sexual-exploitation-victims.