Survivors of child sexual exploitation will work with the council to deliver Inquiry report recommendations
Council leader Shaun Davies has announced that two leading campaigners, who helped deliver the recent Independent Inquiry in to historic child sexual exploitation in Telford, have agreed to work with Telford & Wrekin Council to implement recommendations. This is an unprecedented move and something that hasn’t happened before with British Inquiries into child sexual exploitation.
Holly Archer and Scarlett Jones will play a major role in developing the action plan and ensuring victims and survivors voices are heard. Holly and Scarlett, together with other victims and survivors, played a major part in the Inquiry, commissioned by the council.
Earlier today, Councillor Davies announced the development as part of the council’s efforts to make sure all recommendations are implemented. You can hear his words from earlier today here.
Holly Archer and Scarlett Jones said “We are glad the council has been proactive in ensuring survivor involvement in the steps they take now the Inquiry has concluded. We played a part throughout the whole of the Inquiry process and it means a lot to us to see it through and make sure the recommendations are survivor focused.
“The value of having survivor voices at the heart of the whole process is more than important, it’s crucial. We want to let the community know that we will do all we can to make sure all of the recommendations are implemented and so they work in practise.”
Transcript of Shaun Davies’ words
The Independent Inquiry, that published its report into child sexual exploitation on Tuesday, highlights the pain and distress victims and survivors have gone through.
I want to thank them for sharing their experiences with the Inquiry. Their tenacity and resilience in speaking up is extraordinary.
We are deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that has been caused.
I also want to thank The Sunday Mirror and Geraldine McKelvie for shining a light on child sexual exploitation in Telford and supporting the victims and survivors tell their personal and harrowing stories.
Additionally we acknowledge the hard work of the Inquiry chair, Tom Crowther QC, and his team who worked on the Inquiry.
The report, commissioned by the council, dates back to 1989 and it heard evidence dating back to the 1970s.
In 1989 I was 3 years of age.
As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I am so proud to come from Telford.
For me, it was a wonderful place to grow up. However, it clearly wasn’t the same for many children and young people of my generation and generations before and generations after. And this brings us great sadness.
As a Telford Dad now and a corporate parent, with responsibility for those children and young people who are in our care, I’m more determined than ever to make this a safe and happy place for future generations.
The report has found areas where more could have been done over the last three decades to support victims and survivors and their families.
The Chair has noted our progress since 2016. In his video statement, also released on Tuesday, Tom Crowther stated:
‘I do consider today the key organisations responsible for addressing child sexual exploitation in Telford, the council and the police, have in place properly resourced, dedicated and professional teams that are well equipped to both identify child sexual exploitation risk areas and to help children who are being exploited.’
Even though the Inquiry acknowledges we have made significant and transformational improvements since 2016, and the inquiry specifically states that services today are good, we fully accept and will act on all of the Inquiry’s recommendations in full.
It is for all of us, every elected member, every council officer, every partner to make sure these recommendations are fully implemented.
I will be shortly speaking to the Conservative leader Cllr Andrew Eade and Liberal Democratic leader Cllr Bill Tomlinson, as well as the Police Crime Commissioner John Campion about how we can work together to take the recommendations forward.
One early concern that I have read about from victims and survivors is the funding of the CATE team - the team of dedicated professionals who are at the forefront of our response to tackling child sexual exploitation, who are commended throughout by the Inquiry. The report proposes we make sure that team is properly funded for the next five years.
I make a personal commitment that for as long as we are running the council, that funding will be protected, not just for the next five years but beyond.
I am truly humbled and thankful in equal measure that survivors Holly Archer and Scarlett Jones have agreed to be part of our implementing process moving forward.
Working together we will co-design our response to the Inquiry’s recommendations, to make sure we are doing the very best we can for those people who need us the most.
I would like to publically thank Scarlett and Holly for holding us to account and for agreeing to be part of our journey moving forward.
Together, all of us, can ensure that we build a future that we can be proud about, a future that ensures that our children, our grandchildren, now and generations to come, are safe and happy in Telford and share the experiences I did as a child growing up here in Telford and Wrekin.
Sources of support
The YMCA, Wellington, supported by the council, offers a free support service for survivors of child sexual exploitation through the Holly Project, an independent drop-in service run by survivors. They can be contacted on: 01952 947831 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The council has also funded a private and confidential advice and support service, through Wolverhampton-based charity Base25, for anyone who has been affected by the Inquiry and its findings, and also has a range of other support services too. More information can be found at www.telford.gov.uk/CSEFAQS
The full Inquiry report
The council urges everyone to read the full Inquiry report.