Child sexual exploitation vile and evil - preventing it is our top priority
The Council has made the following statement in response to a Sunday Mirror report article about child sexual exploitation.
While we can’t comment on the detail of individual cases, child sexual exploitation is a vile evil crime.
As national headlines continue to demonstrate it’s an issue right across the UK and has been for a long time. Anyone who says otherwise is burying their head in the sand.
Telford will be covered by the national CSE review by Alexis Jay, who led the Rotherham inquiry. We welcome this review coming to Telford.
We will welcome sharing what we have learned ourselves and from many other recent cases such as those in Blackburn, Bristol, Oxford and Newcastle.
All agencies in the borough continue to work very closely together and we must leave no stone unturned - this remains our top priority.
Our approach to CSE is now very different from 10 – 20 years ago. We have learned lots of lessons and made many changes to our practices, which we keep under constant review.
In 2009 we were one the first councils to set up a task force with police and other agencies to tackle CSE and this has led to seven men being convicted at the time. We and our partners are constantly on the lookout for indicators of CSE so that we can pass information on to police to stop CSE and bring these evil criminals to justice. Indeed further cases are now coming through court.
For any victim to come forward requires huge courage, and we are committed to offering them our full support and help.
In 2013, we commissioned our own independent review into CSE. In July 2016 this was covered by an OFSTED inspection and a visit by Home Office and Dept for Education teams in 2017. We have also put extra resources into tackling and preventing CSE here and asking the Government to give us further help.
Following the 2016 inspection, OFSTED said: “Work with children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation is very strong. The local authority has been a champion for tackling this issue. It provides leadership to partner agencies, with who this work is well co-ordinated. Work to protect children who go missing from home or care is thorough and improving.
"There is a strong commitment from the local authority and its partners to tackle child sexual exploitation... Consequently, young people receive comprehensive and well-coordinated services that make a positive difference."
If anyone is aware of a child at risk, they should contact West Mercia Police on 101 in the first instance.