Book Reviews

Broken and Betrayed: The true story of the Rotherham abuse scandal by the woman who fought to expose it by Jayne Senior

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List Price: £7.99

 

Paperback: 320 Pages.

Published: 24 March 2016 by Pan

ISBN: 1509801626

EAN: 9781509801626

For fourteen years, Jayne Senior tried to help girls from Rotherham who had been groomed, raped, tortured, pimped and threatened with violence by sex traffickers. As the manager of Risky Business, which was set up to work with vulnerable teens, she heard heartbreaking and shocking stories of abuse and assiduously kept notes and details of the perpetrators, passing information on to the authorities in the belief that they would do something. Eventually, when she lost hope that the authorities would take action against the gangs she had identified as the abusers, she became a whistleblower for The Times investigative reporter Andrew Norfolk. Now, in her powerful memoir, she describes a life spent working to protect Rotherham's girls, the pressure put on her to stop rocking the boat, and why she risked prison in the hope that she could help end the appalling child exploitation in the town.

Reviews

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Compelling reading - sadly, a true story

The author tells the story of her life in Rotherham and how she became a youth leader rising eventually to manage a local authority project called Risky Business. As part of her work she became involved with the most vulnerable young women in the city and eventually realised that there was a well organised and run operation abusing and sexually exploiting them. As part of her role she made every attempt to cooperate with the police and other authorities and although she had some success with individuals the investigations were closed down and some of the attitudes shown towards the young women were appalling. In the end Jayne made the decision to share what she knew about the situation with an investigative reporter from "The Times" and then it became public. Her role in this has been recognised by awards.

The first things to say about this book is that it is Jayne's story. It is told from her point of view and I am absolutely positive that everything she says can be backed up by evidence because she names individuals who did not take action when they should have. This means that Jayne is at the heart of the story and it may appear that she was the only one trying to do anything - she does mention others but it is what she did herself that is the point of the book. By telling the story of her family life during this period she tries to show that she is just an ordinary woman trying to do her best and I think that it does make the whole thing more human in scale.

The story of what happened to these young women is obviously appalling and so is the lack of reaction from those in authority. Jayne tells individual stories about those she knew to humanise them and she doesn't hold back from showing how damaged the young women were and how many of them also had a habit of self-destructive behaviour. She shows how easily they were groomed and how they just wanted love and attention and how everyone else in their life had let them down. What she doesn't do is try and take an overview of why this culture of victimisation was allowed to flourish, why it may have been covered up and why it seemed to be based predominantly with men of one minority ethnicity. That additional layer of explanation and analysis would have been interesting but the author has kept this book very firmly only to describing what happened.

This is a quick read but not an easy one. I am absolutely sure that were it not for possible legal ramifications the author would have a lot more to say and that were it not for the sensitivities of readers that there is a lot more nastiness that she could have described. Nevertheless what you have here is a book that should make you weep. This situation should not have been allowed to happen and it shoudl not have been covered up. Jayne did what she could to make a difference and this is her story. It should be read by all interested in what happened in Rotherham but obviously you would need to read other accounts as well to get a fully rounded view.

 
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