Doncaster child protection boss caught up in Rotherham sex abuse scandal breaks silence

Doncaster's  Civic Offices.
Doncaster's Civic Offices.

A senior child protection boss has apologised to more than 1,400 young victims who were sexually exploited by gangs.

Jackie Wilson, now Doncaster Council’s assistant director of child services, was a senior manager at Rotherham Council when the child sexual exploitation scandal was happening.

Mrs Wilson, is still in her £90,000 a year job while local authority bosses investigate her conduct whilst at Rotherham, a Doncaster Council spokesman confirmed.

Speaking for the first time since the Professor Jay report, Mrs Wilson said she was ‘profoundly sorry’ for the suffering of the victims.

She added: “As soon as I was aware of the report’s publication I brought it to my employer’s attention and asked them to make inquiries about my time in Rotherham and to rigorously assess my fitness to practice.

“I have spent my whole professional career safeguarding vulnerable children and young people, including my time at Rotherham Council where I was employed in two senior management posts from 1998 until 2004.

“I am fully cooperating with my employer and will not be able to offer further comment at this moment in time whilst these enquiries are taking place.”

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, and Joyce Thacker, head of child services at Rotherham, as well as other senior figures have resigned since the publication of the report which revealed 1,400 girls had been abused by gangs of predominantly Asian men in the town over 15 years. Many of the victims went on to have children by their abusers.

The report said senior managers had ‘underplayed’ the scale and seriousness of the problem and South Yorkshire Police also failed to prioritise it.

Mrs Wilson took up the role at Doncaster in January.

She is one of at least three senior officials employed by Rotherham Council during the period covered by the inquiry that now hold high-ranking roles at other local authorities.