- Alexander Stafford, Member of Parliament for Rother Valley, has called on the Government today to improve support provided to survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse following a meeting with constituent and campaigner, Sammy Woodhouse. The question forms part of Alexander’s longstanding campaign to right the wrongs of historic child sexual abuse in Rotherham.
- During questions to the Leader of the House, the Rt. Hon Jacob Rees Mogg MP, Alexander raised the findings of a report published by the Chair of the Children’s Social Care Review. The report: ‘The Case for Change’, found that there is a disturbing trend towards social services identifying the children of sexual assault victims as being at risk of abuse purely because their mothers were victims of the same crime.
During questions to the Leader of the House today, Alexander Stafford, local MP for Rother Valley, called for a Government debate on the disturbing practice of social services identifying the children of sexual assault victims as being at risk of abuse purely because their mothers were victims.
Alexander, who represents an area scarred by the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, has spoken passionately in the past about the need to ensure that the historic failings of local authorities are never forgotten and that survivors have the support they need to rebuild their lives. Working closely with whistle-blower and campaigner Sammy Woodhouse, he continues his fight to ensure that victims who have been let down by the system in the past are not failed again.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Alexander asked the Leader of the House, the Rt. Hon Jacob Rees Mogg MP, to join him in calling for a debate on the findings of ‘The Case for Change’, a report published by the Chair of the Children’s Social Care Review. The report found that women who become pregnant as a result of their abuse are more likely to have their children identified as being at risk, purely because they themselves were abused. This has led, so says the report, to these mothers being threatened with the removal of their children.
The Leader of the House called the report findings ‘really rather shocking’ and condemned the practice of social services threatening to remove the children of these women with no other evidence of risk as ‘wrong, unfair and unjust.’ He will be taking up the matter with the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Education.
Commenting, Alexander said:
“The Rotherham abuse scandal is a blight on our recent history and these historic wrong doings must be put right. That means supporting survivors and their children to move forward with their lives.
It certainly does not mean that social services should be identifying the children of these victims as being at risk of abuse purely because of what happened to their mothers. I echo the Leader’s comments that this is wrong, unfair and unjust.
I look forward to hearing about the meetings with the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Education, and hope that we can organise a debate on this very important matter.
I will not stop fighting for justice for victims of this abuse and I will continue to work with Sammy and others to right these wrongs.
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- The link to Alexander’s full contribution and the Leader’s reply can be found in Hansard: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-07-01/debates/12739888-18CC-411D-96AC-7C551CAC3E01/BusinessOfTheHouse#contribution-E0E8A36E-2BBB-44C1-AFDF-BEB2BE57537E
- Alexander met Sammy Woodhouse soon after his election and has been a strong proponent and champion of ‘Sammy’s Law’ during his time in Parliament.
- Alexander previously raised the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation in Parliament on 3 February 2021 https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-03/debates/65D3BAF4-00FF-42B3-8430-AAF2CCD8826E/GroomingGangs?highlight=sammy%20woodhouse#contribution-B99DD391-7F9A-4D42-B37E-38B7E8E67E7E
- Sammy’s Law is a proposal to pardon child sexual abuse victims for crimes they were coerced into committing and would remove the crimes committed by the children from their criminal record.