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Telford launches review into child sexual exploitation

A review into child sexual exploitation has been opened by Telford and Wrekin Council.

In 2012 seven men were jailed for various offences, including trafficking of vulnerable girls, following a major investigation into abuse.

This latest review has been prompted by events that occurred in Rotherham, according to Cllr Kevin Guy, chair of the Telford and Wrekin scrutiny committee.

In August last year Prof Alexis Jay published a report which exposed that at least 1,400 children in the Rotherham area had been sexually exploited over a 16-year period. She also concluded that the local authority knew as far back as 2005 of sexual exploitation being committed on a wide scale – mostly by Asian men – yet failed to act.

When the report was released at the end of August it caused a huge outcry, a number of inquiries and a string of resignations, including the council leader, chief executive, head of children’s services and police and crime commissioner.

An inquiry from the Communities and Local Government Committee, which looked into the abuse, reported in November that that the circumstances found within Rotherham MBC, such as “policies divorced from reality, single party supremacy and a dominating personality with predominate influence”, are likely to be found in other councils.

Telford council has taken the warning to heart and the review will now examine education, health, policing and social services in the area.

Guy described it as a "big piece of work on an extremely serious issue".

The BBC quoted him as saying: "We need to make sure children are safe within the borough. It's important we're all fully aware of what bodies are responsible for what and that they're doing the job they should be.

"The key thing is, are they ensuring children are being protected from CSE [child sexual exploitation]? Are the victims and families supported? And how are perpetrators being prosecuted?"

An earlier report into the various agencies' handling of child sexual exploitation in Telford was published in April 2014. It identified a number of areas for improvement, including training, communication and work with families.

(Image source: Gordon Cragg)

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