Scrutiny Committee gets update on efforts to tackle CSE
Telford & Wrekin Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee has welcomed additional investment by Telford & Wrekin Council to tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE).
The Committee met on Thursday to receive an interim report on how the 38 recommendations from the committee’s report on CSE are being implemented.
The report was presented by Andrew Mason, chairman of the Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board, and Councillor Paul Watling, cabinet member for Children, Young People and Communities.
It demonstrated the significant work that has been done by partners to implement the recommendations, 17 of which are already completed with the rest on track to be completed within the target timescale.
Key areas highlighted include the additional investment by the Council in specialist staff to support victims of CSE and raise awareness, additional safeguarding requirements as a condition of licensing.
Other key issues included increased awareness training for taxi drivers and a focus on CSE in the commissioning of mental and sexual health services .
The meeting also heard from Superintendent Tom Harding from West Mercia Police, who provided data on child sexual offences and an analysis of victim and perpetrator profiles.
He also emphasized the need to get clear and accurate information to the public to counter misperceptions and to continue to raise awareness so that crime does not go unreported and can be investigated.
Councillor Kevin Guy, chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, said: “We will have a full end of year report on how our recommendations have been implemented 12 months on.
“However, as the safety of our young is a top priority, we felt it was important to have an interim check on how things were progressing.
“We recognise that progress has been made in a widr range of areas and were assured of the ongoing commitment and hard work of agencies to tackle the issues.
“The committee also welcomed the additional investment by the Council in funding three new posts to support CSE work, particularly in this challenging financial climate.
“We were pleased to note the commitment from the police to strengthen work with partners, particularly schools.
“We also agreed that more should be done to provide the public with accurate information about the profile of victims and perpetrators to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions so that people are more aware of risks and report concerns.
“The clear message is that protecting children and young people is everyone’s business.”
If anyone is aware of a child at risk, they should contact West Mercia Police. The “front door” for any calls to the Council is the Family Connect service on 01952 385385.