Following the final episode of BBC's harrowing real-life drama Three Girls, over 142,000 people have signed an online petition which requests that health worker Sara Rowbotham be recognised for her services in the Rochdale abuse case. The three-part show focuses on the real-life abuse of a group of underage girls, who were groomed by older men. Many viewers expressed their support for Sara, who was portrayed in the show by actress Maxine Peake, for her heroic actions in regularly gathering evidence on the grooming gangs and bringing it to the attention of the police.
Maxine Peake portrayed Sara in the show
The petition read: "The evidence she collected, along with statements from the brave survivors of the abuse, was dismissed time & time again by GMP & CPC. Years later some of the men were jailed because of this evidence, without a doubt without Sara & her team this prosecution would never have happened."
The show was based on the real life Rochdale abuse case
It continued: "Sara and her team should be applauded, not only GMP & the CPS but the Government and Crown for her services for young people. Along with recognition for their work Sara and her team should be the highest advocates for future national guidance surrounding the grooming of children." Viewers of the show were shocked to find out that Sara, who was instrumental in bringing the case to trial, was made redundant shortly after the events of the final episode. One tweeted: "Sara Rowbotham lost her job after highlighting the abuse that led to #ThreeGirls convictions. Disgusting. She's a hero." Another added: "No police officer ever faced disciplinary action yet Sara Rowbotham got made redundant? Disgusting #threegirls."
Actress Lisa Riley, who played the mother of one of the girls, opened up about her role on Loose Women. "The BBC took a chance – it could have gone one or two ways," she said. "The story was so true… I am so honoured to have been able to play the part of Lorna and give these girls a voice, because no one believed them. No one." After Nadia Sawalha how she was feeling, Lisa replied: "It's not about me, it's about the girls."
If you would like to sign the petition, go here.