Joyce Thacker’s final report reveals Rotherham’s ongoing child sex exploitation problems

Joyce Thacker, Rotherham Council's former director of children and young people's services

Joyce Thacker, Rotherham Council's former director of children and young people's services

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Joyce Thacker’s final report for Rotherham Council has revealed the town’s continuing struggles with child sexual exploitation.

The update going to the council’s cabinet today said there are currently 47 open cases being dealt with by the town’s social care child sexual exploitation team.

The majority of the children involved are girls, with five boys among the 47.

Ms Thacker, who quit as the £130,000-a-year director of children’s and young people’s services on Friday by ‘mutual agreement’ in the wake of the Jay report, had been due to present the report to councillors.

The number of open cases has fallen from 69 in March, 2013, to 51 this March and 47 by the end of June.

The Jay report, which estimated at least 1,400 children had been victims of sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, said there had been ‘many improvements’ in how the issue was being dealt with by the council and police, despite ‘blatant’ failings between 1997 and 2009.

But it warned problems had not been solved.

“The abuse is not confined to the past but continues to this day,” it said.

Ms Thacker’s report, which looks at council efforts to tackle exploitation in the first three months of the financial year, said the Jay report had attracted ‘national and international interest’.

It said: “Child sexual exploitation has had extensive national media attention. Rotherham has featured in this from both positive and negative perspectives.”

The report said one of the key strategies for tackling the town’s child sexual exploitation problem was bringing together organisations such as its CSE team, community service, youth and health workers to work with each other at the council’s headquarters Riverside House.

It said: “This will allow improved joint working not only for child sexual exploitation but also for domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour and the wider safeguarding children agenda.”

Rotherham Council have refused to comment on whether Ms Thacker received a pay-off.

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