What Was the Rotherham Child Abuse Scandal?


Quick Answer

The Rotherham child abuse scandal was a series of linked child sexual abuse cases that occurred from 1997 to 2013 in the town of South Yorkshire, England. These cases were reported and investigated beginning in 1999, ultimately leading to the 2010 conviction of five British men of Pakistani ancestry on charges of torture, abduction, rape and sex trafficking of children.

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Early social worker cases describing rampant sexual abuse of minors began to increase in the early to mid '90s in Rotherham. An early report by the British home office suggesting that there were close to 300 victims was initiated but never filed. Later reports confirmed the same findings, leading to the establishment of Operation Central, which was tasked with finding the perpetrators.

Ultimately, eight men were arrested on charges of illegal sexual activity with a child. Of them, Zafran Ramzan, Razwan Razaq, Umar Razaq, Adil Hussain and Mohsin Khan were convicted and jailed for terms varying from four to 11 years.

A 2012 independent investigation by The Times uncovered documentation supporting systematic underage sexual abuse perpetrated by men of Asian ethnicity in and around Rotherham. The lack of prosecution prior to 2010 elevated the concern to the Home Affairs Select Committee, which criticized the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough and the South Yorkshire Police.

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