Over 1,000 Child Sex Abuse Victims Identified in Rotherham Grooming Gang Investigation

A discarded pushchair lies in the street in the Eastwood area of Rotherham, South Yorkshir
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Over 1,000 victims have been identified in an investigation into child sex abuse grooming gangs that operated in the northern English town of Rotherham, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed this week.

The NCA — which roughly equates to the F.B.I. in the United States — announced on Thursday that it has launched an appeal for grooming gang victims in Rotherham to come forward in relation to Operation Stovewood. The investigation, which is the largest of its kind in the UK, was launched in response to child sexual abuse gangs targeting young girls in the area in the 1990s and 2000s.

So far, 20 men have been convicted for their involvement in grooming gang crimes, however, law enforcement officials believe that many more perpetrators may still be free.

The NCA said that there are currently 30 investigations ongoing, with over 1,000 victims known to the police. More charges against suspected paedophiles are expected to be brought forward later this year and the probe is expected to last another five years.

Commenting on the push for victims to come forward, the NCA’s Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Stovewood Philip Marshall said: “Our work at Operation Stovewood continues with more than 30 investigations underway and over one thousand nominated victims identified.

“It is a lengthy and complex process and we expect our work to continue for some years yet.

“As an Agency we are determined to do everything in our power to reach out to those victims or witnesses who are yet to come forward, and that is what this new appeal is all about.

“We recognise that this can be, for some, a difficult step to take but I offer reassurance to victims that they will be listened to and offered the appropriate support by the NCA and our partners.”

According to a report from the local newspaper the South Yorkshire Post, the 20 men who were initially jailed were “predominantly of British Pakistani descent”. While Mr Marshall did not comment on the ethnic background of those under investigation, he did say that the suspects were from “one community”.

“It is a fair assessment to say that abuse is still happening in Rotherham, but I think that is a reflection of society in general and Rotherham is no different from any other town. We recognise these concerns but any live investigation will pass now to South Yorkshire Police,” Marshall said.

Former police detective turned rape gang whistleblower, Maggie Oliver has accused British police forces and courts of “institutional cowardice” in allowing the rape gangs to operate for decades.

Backing up the claim, a report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) released in 2020 found that police in Rotherham overlooked children being sexually abused by “Asian” rape gangs due to politically correct fears within the police force.

One police chief inspector was quoted in the report as telling a father of a missing girl that Rotherham would “erupt” if they were informed that “Asian” grooming gangs were abusing young white girls.

A report from the Mayor of Greater Manchester also claimed that officers were told to look for perpetrators of “other ethnicities” while a South Asian-heritage grooming gang preyed on young white girls with impunity.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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