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Telford council to investigate historic and current child sex abuse in town

A non-statutory inquiry will give victims of child sexual exploitation in Telford and Wrekin the opportunity to give evidence in private and encourage other victims to come forward, it is hoped.

Telford and Wrekin Council has announced its plans to publish a report outlining the next steps to hold an inquiry into historic and current instances of child sexual exploitation next week.

The council called for the review following reports in the Sunday Mirror claiming that up to 1,000 children in Telford could have been the target of exploitation.

The motion for the commissioning of a non-statutory independent inquiry was unanimously supported by all political groups at a full council meeting on 10 April.

Telford and Wrekin Council cabinet member, Lee Carter, said: “The report to cabinet next week will set out what needs to be done to set a council inquiry up.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that we have something in place that gets the answers to the questions people have been asking.”

He explained that the council has been working on putting this in place for some time, including by lobbying the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – which has led to the Truth Project coming to Telford to hear from victims and survivors next month.

Carter added: “We have also continued to lobby government and the Home Office has told us that the secretary of state for education has asked a new national child safeguarding practice review panel looking at serious child safeguarding cases of complex or national importance to look at Telford among other places where this vile crime has happened.”

The local authority has secured support from the NWG Network, which supports professionals who tackle child sexual exploitation in their work.

Its cabinet has also allocated further resources to tackle child sexual exploitation and meet the initial costs of any inquiry.

“There is a clear demand for this to happen as soon as possible and so I am pleased that next week we can decide how the inquiry will be set up,” Carter added.

The council launched a review into child sexual exploitation in 2015, prompted by the Rotherham scandal which saw child sexual exploitation on a huge scale over a 16-year period.

This week’s news also follows the revelation that the former Rochdale Council leader, Richard Furnell, lied under oath to the hearing of a large-scale child sex abuse inquiry in the region.

Top image: Imgorthand

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