X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Rotherham: Fear of all the wrong things failed 1,400 children

27 August 2014

9:34 AM

27 August 2014

9:34 AM

‘By 2005 few members or senior officers could say “we didn’t know”.’ It was ‘extraordinary’ that no-one on the lead Labour group on the council could remember discussing these matters. ‘The scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers’. ‘The police gave no priority to child sexual exploitation, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime’. In Rotherham, no-one seemed to care. And when they did care, it was more about what others would think of them than about children as young as 11 being raped.

Professor Alexis Jay’s report says ‘several staff’ at Rotherham Council ‘described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so’. It said:

‘Within the Council, we found no evidence of children’s social care staff being influenced by concerns about the ethnic origins of suspected perpetrators when dealing with individual child protection cases, including CSE. In the broader organisation context, however, there was a widespread perception that messages conveyed by some senior people in the Council and also the Police, were to ‘downplay’ the ethnic dimensions of CSE. Unsurprisingly, frontline staff appeared to be confused as to what they were supposed to say and do and what would be interpreted as ‘racist’. From a political perspective, the approach of avoiding public discussion of the issues was ill-judged.’

[Alt-Text]


There seemed to be a fear of man rather than of wrongdoing, perhaps even a true definition of political correctness gone mad, that led the council to ‘tiptoe’ around the issue of child sexual exploitation in the Pakistani-heritage community. The report found that there were just two meetings in 15 years about CSE – and they took place in 2011 when the abuse stretched back into the late nineties.

How did this go on for so long? The Jay report is worth reading in full, if only to get a measure of the way apparently well-organised organisations apparently working in a joined-up way managed to fail 1,400 children (at least). But something removed the urgency and made fear of breaking a taboo and being labelled politically incorrect the bigger thing. It was a fear of consequences, of anyone more important and powerful finding out that repeated allegations and internal reports were being ignored and someone being held responsible. ‘An issue or responsibility that belongs to everybody effectively belongs to nobody, and in the case of sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham, accountability was key,’ said the report.

If we are to prevent another Rotherham, public servants must never feel as though they will not be held accountable for doing nothing.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close