Fund to help child abuse victims in South Yorkshire tops £80,000

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Around £80,000 has been raised to help support victims of child sexual exploitation in South Yorkshire.

The South Yorkshire Community Foundation launched a fundraising campaign in October after an independent inquiry by Professor Alexis Jay revealed at least 1,400 girls had been abused in Rotherham over a 16 year period while authorities turned a blind eye.

Police and council officials were accused of failing to act because of sensitivities around the ethnicity of the offenders, predominently men of Pakistani heritage.

The South Yorkshire Community Foundation, which supports community groups to achieve charitable goals, has raised around £80,000 to help victims so far, with £50,000 from an anonymous donor and £20,0000 from Rotherham Council.

It has set itself a £100,000 target,

The Golddigger Trust in Sheffield, which works with young people, is one of the organisations to have received cash from the fund.

It was awarded a £10,000 to deliver support and counselling to young women affected by child abuse.

Other grants have also been awarded and will go to charities and community and voluntary organisations supporting those who have survived child sexual exploitation and those at risk.

The figure raised so far was released today to coincide with national National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.

South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Chief Executive, Ruth Willis, said: “We want to thank all those who have donated so far. We could not have gotten this far without their generosity.

“We have been able to give essential financial aid to organisations like the Golddigger Trust to continue their incredible work but unless we raise more funding we will only be able to continue to give this support for a limited time.

“On national Child Sexual Exploitation awareness day we are asking for everyone to take the time to remember the need to stop child sexual exploitation and those who have been and still are affected

by it in our communities and to do what they can to help.”

A number of events are being held across Rotherham this week to highlight the issues around child sexual exploitation and to urge people to think, spot and speak out against abuse.

Rotherham Council’s ‘Youth Bus’ will be located outside Boots in the town centre from 11am–2pm today and staff will be on hand to offer support and advice.

South Yorkshire Police is also hosting a week of events, including a live webchat tonight with officers who tackle exploitation.

To join the conversation visit www.southyorks.pnn.police.uk/webchats