More women should be appointed to the highest levels of Britain's Islamic organisations to help prevent repetition of the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham, according to senior Muslim figures.

Last week a report by Professor Alexis Jay into grooming within the South Yorkshire town pinpointed a "macho culture" in the town as a factor in perpetuating the abuse, which involved 1,400 cases of child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013.

Critics say the traditional male-heavy hierarchy of Muslim groups contributed to the community's silence on abuse and the culture of disbelief that meant many victims were not listened to. Jay's report found the abuse continued partly because of "blatant" failures by council and police, among them the habit of talking only to older male Muslim community representatives, which meant the true extent of the problem was obscured.

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