The chief of children’s services in Rotherham has denied that there was a racial aspect to the city’s historic child abuse scandal which saw 1,400 underage, white, English girls groomed and raped by Pakistani-origin Muslim men over a 16-year period.
Ian Thomas, the strategic director of children’s services at Rotherham council, was speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme after the once-failing department was rated as “good” by the education and child provisions watchdog Ofsted in a report published Monday.
Thomas was appointed following the damning findings of the 2014 Jay Report which noted that council staff were not able to speak about the common ethnic profile of the attackers for fear of being called racists.
Radio host Sarah Montague pointed to the Jay Report which she noted “flagged that social workers were being lent on not to talk about race… Are social workers now free to talk about race if they think it’s relevant?”
Attempting to deflect by discussing the range of workers involved in child services, Montague pressed: “But the conversation on race is open now?”
“There’s no monopoly on CSE [Child Sexual Exploitation],” Thomas said.
Police told the 13 year old Rotherham grooming gang victim not to mention the ethnicity of her rapists. https://t.co/oWc8uMUAjw
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 14, 2017
“We focus on what children tell us… They will lead us to their abusers and that requires excellent relationship based practice so we’ve proven, given the profile of the perpetrators over the past 20 months, that race is not an issue for us,” he continued.
Attempting again to get clarity on the race issue, Montague said: “The reason why I raise race is because what became apparent was that there was a pattern [and] people were not allowed to talk about race… In this case, you needed to [see the race].”
“No,” Thomas said. “We needed to see the abuse. In terms of CSE, and the race dimension around CSE no race has the monopoly on CSE.”
“Indeed, but when you have a pattern of mainly Pakistani-originated men targeting mainly white English girls then surely you do need to take account of race?” asked Montague.
“No. We take account of abuse. We put the child at the centre and take account of the abuse,” said the director of children’s services.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 26, 2016
Last year, a victim of a Rotherham Muslim grooming gang revealed she was told, as a 13-year-old, “numerous times” by police and social workers not to mention race.
Rotherham’s director of children’s services also confirmed in the BBC interview that 75 per cent of the council services staff who were employed during the child exploitation scandal are still employed at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
In November, Breitbart London reported that Rotherham Council had been nominated for “social work employer of the year”.
In the same month, rape gang survivors told Channel 4 that groomers are still abusing young girls in the city.