Richard Spillett, Daily Mail (London), September 15, 2014
A victim of Rotherham’s child sex abuse scandal confronted a man she says groomed her–but was left shocked when she was the one arrested.
The woman was shocked when she saw the man walking through the town’s centre on Friday and decided to challenge him over the allegations.
But she was tackled by two police officers and pushed up against a wall during her ‘thuggish’ arrest, a witness has said.
A damning report released last month detailed how 1,400 children were sexually exploited in the area over a 16-year period.
The Times reported that a woman whose case is being investigated by authorities–but has not yet been interviewed–was arrested after tackling a man she says groomed her when she was 15.
A witness accused the police of ‘acting like insensitive thugs’, telling the paper: ‘A police van came and six male officers piled out.
‘Two of them dragged her away, handcuffed her, put her against a wall and then shoved her into the back of the van.’
South Yorkshire Police told today how they had been hoping to interview the woman in the weeks before the arrest, after they were told of the historic allegations by another organisation.
But they only realised that she was the woman they had been trying to speak to after her arrest, and have now released her on bail.
After her treatment at the hands of officers, the woman has been reluctant to talk to police and her complaint against the man is therefore yet to be officially recorded.
The police force, which has come under fire in the wake of the recent scandal, insists it does take sexual violence seriously and will continue attempts to investigate the woman’s claims.
A spokesman said: ‘Specialist officers from South Yorkshire Police had been making efforts to trace a 28-year-old woman who had made allegations to a partner agency.
‘The allegations related to child sexual exploitation. Efforts to trace the woman were unsuccessful.
‘Later that day, officers from a neighbouring force who were providing support to South Yorkshire Police, were approached by a passerby who made complaints about the behaviour of a woman who they believed had been drinking.
‘The woman was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.
‘She was taken to Main Street Police Station where she was detained and later released on police bail.’
The spokesman added: ‘Whilst she was in custody officers realised the identity of the woman and made sensitive enquiries with her regarding her previous allegation.
‘The woman chose not to speak with the officers at this current time but plans are in place to find an appropriate way to work with the woman and offer her the support she needs to come forward.’
The arrest comes after an inquiry into long-running child abuse in the area revealed families who tried to step in were in some cases themselves detained by police.
The Jay report into the scandal stated: ‘In two of the cases, fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene.’
Police flooded the town this weekend ahead of a protest over the scandal by supporters of the English Defence League (EDL), at which four men were arrested.
Public anger over the abuse has been fanned by the refusal of Shaun Wright, who was Rotherham’s councillor in charge of children’s services during the scandal and is now the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner, to resign.