Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford – tackling this evil crime together
Amid all the recent national media coverage about Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford, it’s very easy to miss key facts about the work we, the police and other partners have been doing to tackle this issue which remains our and partners’ top priority. Partners want to ensure these facts are made available.
Fact 1 – We know some very terrible things happened to a number of children & young people in Telford & Wrekin, 10, 20, 30 years ago. Those same things have also been happening in a long list of towns and cities right across the country – no different to what happened in Telford. Sadly horrible things are happening here to vulnerable children and young people today, just as they are elsewhere.
Fact 2 – However Telford is different. Something different did happen here. Teams in the Council, police and other agencies started to see bad things happening and organised exploitation of children, many of whom did not realise or see themselves as actual victims.These teams came together and set up a task force to identify the issue, tackle it and bring perpetrators to justice: This was Operation Chalice which began its work in 2008/9. Over the last 10 years we have built ever closer links. That work to protect children and young people continues as does legal action and prosecutions.
Fact 3 – Telford was one of the first places in the UK to launch prosecutions for organised Child Sexual Exploitation .
Fact 4 - Telford was one of the first places in the country to secure convictions for organised Child Sexual Exploitation .
Fact 5 – Telford continues to have a dedicated team of police, council and other partners working to identify and support victims of Child Sexual Exploitation . The Council and police increased resources for this Children Abused Through Exploitation team in 2016/17.
Fact 6 – Partners in Telford have always been open about our work on Child Sexual Exploitation . We have nothing to hide. That’s why we commissioned an independent review of our approach to Child Sexual Exploitation so we could learn lessons and further improve. This review was published in 2013. We also asked scrutiny to do an in-depth review which reported back in 2016
Fact 7 - We have always wanted an expert independent inquiry into the issue here and hoped this would be the national inquiry led by Prof Jay. We have now asked the Government to commission an independent inquiry. We feel we cannot commission this, as its scope and independence would be open to question.
Fact 8 – In 2016, a team of 7 OFSTED inspectors looked at our safeguarding services in great detail for 4 weeks -a month, no hiding places.
They concluded our work on Child Sexual Exploitation was “strong” and said: “The local authority has been a champion for tackling this issue”.
Fact 9 - Since 2008, Telford & Wrekin Council with West Mercia Police has been at the forefront of identifying and tackling the evil crime that is Child Sexual Exploitation . We care, we act and always will. We continue to learn from our own and other councils experiences to protect all of our children and young people
Fact 10 – We accept and regret that some historic practices were not effective 10 - 20 years ago. But so did services right across the country because awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation was then very different from now. Some incidents referred to in recent media reports pre-date the Council’s formation.
Everyone in our borough has a role to play in tackling Child Sexual Exploitation . If you suspect a child is a victim of sexual offences or is being sexually abusing you must report this, even if it is just a suspicion. This Council will act on every report we receive and we continue to support survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation .
If anyone has any concerns, they should contact police in the first instance by calling 101, call Childline on 0800 1111 or report to Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) online. You can also contact Family Connect on 01952 385385 or visit Tell Someone