The next steps in tackling child sexual exploitation in the Bradford district
Current work to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in the Bradford district and future plans to extend this work are outlined in a report to Bradford Council’s Executive.
Executive members, when they meet on 13 January, will be asked to approve nine recommendations to build on the multi-agency work already being done to support victims, prevent people becoming victims of CSE, bring perpetrators to justice and educate people on the risks of CSE.
A motion recognising the rights of all children to be protected from all forms of exploitation and victimisation was passed by Bradford Council on 21 October 2014. This included the launch of a specialist team to investigate historical CSE cases and giving every councillor access to training on identifying potential CSE cases.
To progress the motion, officers have recommended that the Council’s Executive approves a range of actions including:
* Ensuring Area Committees receive a report on CSE
* Expanding awareness-raising in schools to include a special package for primary schools
* Extending CSE awareness training to council staff in areas such as licensing, Hackney Carriage and Private Hire, housing and environmental health
* A report on therapeutic support for CSE survivors is prepared in
2015 for the Health and Well Being Board.
Following the publication of the Jay Report into CSE in Rotherham, Ofsted undertook CSE inspections in eight local authorities. Bradford was one one of these. However, during the Ofsted Single Inspection of Children’s Services, completed in March 2014, inspectors visited the Child Sexual Exploitation Hub and considered the effectiveness of the multi-agency response to tackle perpetrators in the district.
A local review of services was also carried out by Bradford Safeguarding Children Board in spring 2014.
Both reports highlighted good practice and partnership working between Bradford Council, the Police, Barnardo’s and other voluntary and statutory organisations.
The CSE Hub, set up in January 2012, was praised for having the police, social care and Barnardo’s on the same site, meaning information could be shared effectively between agencies, cases investigated quicker and
plans put in place to reduce any risks of CSE. The National College of Policing also awarded the Hub a ‘Gold Standard’ and has encouraged other
forces to adopt a similar model.
Each CSE case is risk-assessed by partner agencies and the outcome of this assessment helps to decide what type of support is provided to each child and their family. The Hub’s Police team investigate allegations of CSE, where appropriate building cases for prosecution.
Other staff include a Council team manager and social worker, Barnardo’s Turnaround Service and a sexual health nurse provided by Bradford District Care Trust.
As well as dealing with reports of CSE, the Hub does a range of preventative work, including the West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Local Safeguarding Children Board ‘Know the Signs’ campaign,
funding a CSE drama performed by GW Theatre in secondary schools and commissioning PACE (Parents against Child Exploitation) to support parents of children experiencing CSE.
Coun Ralph Berry, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:”Child sexual exploitation is a dreadful crime and all perpetrators must be pursued and prosecuted. Tackling this crime is an issue for the entire Council and all agencies.
“A great deal of progress has been made in dealing with CSE in the district, especially through the effective work of the Hub, which has been widely recognised as a beacon of good practice. But there is a long way to go to ensure effective practice across all agencies on this complex and sensitive issue and these next steps will take us further in this direction.
“We will always need the community as a whole to hlep, taking responsibility for vulnerable young people and giving us third party information, if they suspect that child sexual exploitation is taking place or children are at risk.”
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