Police have dismissed a complaint about the publication of report findings critical of Rotherham abuse whistleblower Jayne Senior’s conduct in her role as the chief executive of a charity supporting now-adult victims of child sexual exploitation.
The findings of a three-year £60,000 independent investigation commissioned by Rotherham Council which upheld complaints about Mrs Senior’s conduct at Swinton Lock Activity Centre were made public last month after the report was provided to The Yorkshire Post and The Rotherham Advertiser by one of the 12 complainants in the matter.
South Yorkshire Police said today it had received one complaint from a member of the public “who was concerned the content of the report had been placed into the public domain”.
A force spokesman said: “This is not a police matter and no crime has been recorded.”
Abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse, who initially provided the report to The Yorkshire Post on a confidential basis but has subsequently confirmed publicly she was behind its release, said today she was surprised by the complaint that had been made to the police.
The version of her report she provided to the media has made details about the 12 complainants, as well as four witnesses who gave evidence in support of Mrs Senior and Swinton Lock, anonymous to protect their identities.
Miss Woodhouse said: “I released the report because I believe as Jayne is the chief executive officer of a charity helping victims and a Labour politician, it is in the public interest for people to know what this report says.
“Since the report has gone public, other people have contacted me with concerns.”
Mrs Senior is a former youth worker who was awarded an MBE in June 2016 for her work in exposing the nature and extent of CSE in the South Yorkshire town and was elected as a Labour councillor earlier that year.
Three complaints about her and the charity were fully upheld, four partially upheld and two not upheld.
The report partially upheld a key complaint from abuse survivors that Mrs Senior had “inappropriately shared information and misrepresented their stories” in her autobiography, as well as finding “evidence to suggest Mrs Senior’s capacity to maintain a high standard of professional practice has not been consistent”. It said complainants “understandably feel let down by Mrs Senior”.
Mrs Senior has said the issue is a “very disappointing matter” but has said unspecified legal action prevents her from commenting further, while Swinton Lock’s trustees have said they “disagree with many of the report’s findings”.
The report highlighted how camps ‘for’ and ‘opposed’ to Mrs Senior have become “entrenched” over the issues raised.
News of the complaint to police comes after Rotherham Council leader Chris Read defended the authority’s decision to commission the independent investigation after initially being contacted by three complainants in 2016 when the council was one of the organisations providing funding to Swinton Lock.
At a council meeting last week, a CSE survivor asked him: “Do you understand the cost of the deeply-flawed investigation in terms of the impact on the lives of victims, survivors and family members and those that work at that charity and the great number of people who support this charity and the work they do?”
The exchange came after the father of an abuse victim said he had received death threats and a member of the public said the report had been made public after an “appalling and dangerous leak”.
Coun Read said: “I think the escalating behaviour and the damage on all sides of these issues are deeply regrettable. What I do not accept is that the council did not have a responsibility to look at issues raised when the council were funding a service and issues were raised by people who used that service.
“I will always say that service users, when they raise issues about services deserve to have their questions answered. That is what happened in this case.”
South Yorkshire Police said aside from the complaint about the report being made public, “no other matters have been reported to, or are currently being investigated by SYP in connection with the report”.
Mrs Senior and Swinton Lock did not respond when contacted by The Yorkshire Post.