A jury at Sheffield Crown Court hearing evidence during the Rotherham abuse trial has been told staff at Rotherham Council threatened to take away the children of one of the 12 alleged victims for speaking out about child sexual exploitation.
The alleged victim, known at court as Girl J but now 30 years old, told a jury about attempts by two social workers from Rotherham Council to stop her speaking to the media, reports the Sheffield Star.
She says she only spoke to the media after having had a meeting with police officers which she “didn’t find helpful at all”.
In August 2013 The Times published a front page exclusive headlined ‘Grooming scandal of child sex town’ after Girl J had spoken to their Chief Investigative Reporter, Andrew Norfolk. She claims: “The only reason the police started this investigation is because The Times printed my story.”
The court heard that after the story in The Times Girl J did more interviews in the media to further her work for victims of abuse. It was then she allegedly attracted the attention of two social workers at Rotherham Council. She told the court:
“At one point I was going to stop. I felt like I was being blackmailed by Rotherham Borough Council saying they were going to take my kids from me.
“But the more I did speak out, the more people did come forward and it was really helping the situation – things were improving…
“…I felt like they were saying because I had come forward I had put my kids at risk.”
Although she did not make a formal complaint against the social workers in question, Girl J says she “panicked” and contacted police who tried to help.
Girl J told the court she never received payment for stories, reports the Sheffield Telegraph, even though she was offered it by journalists. Mr. Hussain’s defence barrister Stephen Uttley told the court the alleged victim is suing South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council, and suggested she was making the allegations against his client with financial motivation.
She replied: “If I was, I would have accepted all the money from the media.”
Mr. Hussain, now 40, denies a charge of rape, three of indecent assault and two of abduction in relation to Girl J who alleges she started having sex with him when she was just 14. She says she twice fell pregnant by him, and he accepts fathering one child with her but claims that he believed she was 18 when they met.
The trial continues.