Telford & Wrekin Council welcomes child sexual exploitation review

Telford & Wrekin Council says it welcomes scrutiny of its practices to protect children from sexual exploitation.

The council today said it welcomed further review and believes this is best carried out by the expert national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by Alexa Jay, who also oversaw the independent inquiry into child sex exploitation in Rotherham.

The Council is contacting the inquiry to ask to bring this review forward to Telford and is also contacting the Home Office to see if there are any other actions they feel are appropriate.

Yesterday, an article published in the Sunday Mirror reported that it had carried out an 18-month investigation which revealed abuse in Telford on unprecedented levels over a period of 40 years. The article claimed that up to 1,000 children could have suffered – where sex gangs targeted girls as young as 11.

Telford & Wrekin Council has responded to the article with details of how it is committed to protecting children from sexual exploitation.

The Home Office, Department for Education, Ofsted and a cross party Council scrutiny committee have previously reviewed the council, police and other partners.

In 2013 the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board commissioned and published an independent review into child sex exploitation.

Previous independent inquiries into child sex exploitation in Telford identified the introduction by the Council and Police of the Children Abused Through Exploitation (CATE) Team in 2008 as the start of changes in practice, which are now recognised regionally and nationally.

In 2016 an Ofsted report said there was a strong commitment from the local authority and its partners to tackle child sexual exploitation.

The report 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 coordinated. 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.”

In late 2016 both the Council and West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner put extra funding into the CATE and police teams to further support work on CSE in Telford.

Telford & Wrekin Council says it accepts and regrets that some historic practices were not effective and some of the incidents referred to in recent media reports pre-date the Council.

If you suspect a child is a victim of sexual offences or is being sexually abusing you must contact police by calling 101, call Childline on 0800 1111 or report to Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre.

Related article: West Mercia Police respond to Sunday Mirror article investigating child sexual exploitation in Telford