Yet another senior official who failed to protect 1,400 children in Rotherham from a predatory paedophile gang, has made a weak apology but refused to give up her new job. This time it was the turn of former director of Children’s Services, Sonia Sharp, who is now working for the Victoria department of education, Australia.
Sharp had probably hoped her voluntary exile down under would keep her well away from public criticism but she was wrong. In today’s Telegraph says she has admitted she “could have done more” to stop the abuse. As children’s services boss in Rotherham from 2005 to 2008, she conceded staff “knew that there were many children in the community at risk and feared that this was the tip of an iceberg”.
Her role was to be the full-time professional working under the political direction of Shaun Wright. Mr Wright left the council shortly after he was elected to the role of South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012.
So far he has resisted calls for his resignation from a role that involves leading the Police’s response to child abuse in Rotherham. As previously reported on Breitbart London there is now a public petition to get rid of him, but so far all he has done is resign from the Labour Party. The public have no powers to remove him unless he agrees to stand down.
In a statement Sharp said: “You can’t be a director of children’s services and not take responsibility for what happens to children.
“I am sorry that these children and young people suffered terrible abuse and I wish we could have done more to prevent the abuse of children and young people in Rotherham. As soon as I commenced in April 2005 as Rotherham’s first director of children’s services, I was briefed by politicians, senior managers and frontline staff about the issue of sexual exploitation of young people.
“We knew that there were many children in the community at risk and feared that this was the tip of an iceberg. Nine years ago, our greatest challenge was to change the predominant view that these young people were ‘promiscuous teenagers in consensual relationships’, rather than victims of child abuse.
“Across our children’s services there were many people who dedicated themselves to stopping these awful crimes. There was a lot to do – shifting attitudes, raising the quality of services for these vulnerable children, improving early identification and strategies for prevention, and importantly, getting agencies to work together to achieve convictions.”
Despite stating she is taking responsibility she is understood to be secure in her current role, so her comments will make no practical impact.