Telford & Wrekin Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee has published its review into how agencies across the borough are working together to tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE).
The 100 page review finds that organisations in Telford and Wrekin are “working well together” to respond to known cases of CSE.
The review does however make 38 recommendations aimed at achieving better practice over a broad range of issues, including improving the way organisations work and encouraging everyone to take ownership of tackling the problem.
Some of the recommendations include:
• Raising awareness that everyone has a role in helping to protect our children and young people from CSE – CSE is everyone’s business
• Increasing therapeutic support for victims and their families
• Enhancing sexual health services for young people and continually reviewing progress
• Better support for victims as a case progresses through the Criminal Justice System, particularly in courts
• Raising awareness of CSE in schools, academies and colleges including primary school children in an age appropriate way
• Taking steps to protect the resources tackling CSE in the face of ongoing public cuts
• Better and more accessible online presence for the council’s Family Connect service
• Establishment of a whistle blowing hotline for people with concerns about a child at risk to share information anonymously
• Review of taxi licensing policies to make them stronger, including CSE training for drivers (this has been introduced while the review was being put together)
Councillor Kevin Guy, chairman of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee, said: “I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this work but I particularly want to thank the victims and survivors of CSE and their families who gave us their views.
“This has been the most profoundly moving and inspiring part of this review - that people who have experienced or seen their children become a victim of horrific abuse have the courage to tell us what they think about the support and protection they received and how services can be improved.
“We have learned that we all have a role in tackling CSE, as CSE is everyone’s business. We have concluded that based on the evidence presented to us, organisations in Telford and Wrekin are working well together to respond to known cases of CSE.
“The review’s recommendations make a range of suggestions about how organisations can improve the way they work but also how we all have a responsibility to stop CSE happening in the first place.
“Our recommendations have been based on the information we heard over this long diligent period of putting the review together. I am aware that some services have changed while we have been producing the review.
“The Scrutiny Committee cannot change how organisations work. Our role is to make recommendations that will be considered by the decision makers in the different organisations.”
Councillor Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “I welcome the publication of the review and would like to both thank and congratulate everyone involved in putting together a very comprehensive piece of work.
“I have noted the recommendations and will be presenting a formal response, which will also be agreed by partner organisations on the Telford and Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board, at a cabinet meeting later in the year.
“In the meantime, I would like to assure our residents that the safety and welfare of our children and young people is our top priority and we are continually reviewing our procedures and systems to ensure they receive maximum support and protection.”
The review will be discussed by the next meeting of Telford & Wrekin Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee at Madeley Academy on Monday 16 May at 6pm.
The Committee meeting will be followed by a live performance by Loudmouth Theatre Company of their production “Working For Marcus” – a powerful and moving piece of theatre that creatively yet sensitively shows how young people can be groomed.