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Rochdale review into child sexual exploitation published

Agencies "missed opportunities" to stop child exploitation ring

Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board has published a review into child sexual exploitation in the Borough. It is downloadable from the Board's website. The report looks at how agencies including the council, police, NHS, Crown Prosecution Service and other support services worked between 2007 and 2012 to safeguard children and young people who were at risk of sexual exploitation.

The report concludes that all the agencies concerned – police, social workers and the Crown Prosecution Service – "missed opportunities" to stop a child exploitation ring from abusing young and vulnerable girls over several years.

The findings have been used to identify the required changes that have now been made, supporting the development of the local Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy and action plan.

The following is a summary of the Review recommendations:

  1. RBSCB should develop an effective local strategy, ensuring there is a co?ordinated multiagencyresponse to child sexual exploitation, based on the knowledge which already exists about the extent and nature of child exploitation locally.
  2. Awareness?raising briefings should be held as a matter of urgency at high schools across the borough.
  3. Train the trainer' sessions should be provided for professionals working with children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation as a basis for effective training of the wider workforce.
  4. The RBSCB strategy should identify and ensure that appropriate levels of training/
    awareness?raising/ information for:
        a. those professionals for whom training in respect of child sexual exploitation should be mandatory;
        b. those professionals where 'awareness?raising' activities are required;
        c. those community groups where 'awareness?raising' activities are indicated and,
        d. parents and carers.
  5. Partner agencies, particularly the local authority and the police, should review how they work with local communities and consider how communications and opportunities for representation can be further developed. This should include using third sector partners to gain access and build trust.
  6. RBSCB should ensure that there are clear policies and procedures in place for managing referrals in relation to children at risk of, or suffering harm through child sexual exploitation.
  7. RBSCB should provide good practice guidance for practitioners and managers to build their knowledge and support their work with children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation.
  8. GMP should ensure that all staff are aware of the appropriate and legally compliant evidence gaining requirements and that, when arrests have been made, that there are appropriate bail conditions in place to protect the victim/s. 
  9. Criminal justice organisations locally should work together to ensure that support is provided for sexually exploited young people throughout the whole process of reporting the crime, making a statement, the pre?trial preparation, going to court and after the trial. 
  10. The RBSCB should ensure that the use of disruption tactics permeates the work with young people; work in particular locations; work with local businesses; and targeting offenders. 
  11. GMP and a representative of the Sunrise Team should attend Licensing Panels to assist the Chief Officer in determining applications where drivers have been interviewed about the sexual exploitation of children. 
  12. RBSCB should establish a specific performance management framework to evaluate progress made by agencies in preventing child sexual exploitation; in diverting those at risk; in responding to the needs of those young people who are being sexually exploited; and in reducing the overall incidence of this type of abuse. 
  13. The RBSCB should establish multi?agency information?sharing meetings.
  14. The RBSCB should ensure that these meetings collate and analyse information about offender and victim profiles and identify changing hotspot locations, so that disruptive action can be planned and taken. 
  15. The RBSCB should ensure that agreed actions to develop and support the Sunrise Team are implemented. Agreed actions include:
        a. Oversight and governance of the team should be co?ordinated by RBSCB to ensure an effective multi?agency approach;
        b. Commissioning arrangements should be formally agreed and integrated into a service level agreement with clear outcome and other performance measures;
        c. Consistent, high quality staff supervision and professional support is essential to enable practitioners to deal with complex and difficult safeguarding issues. This supervision and support should be provided within the team structure;
        d. The role and responsibilities of the Sunrise Team should be communicated to all agencies/ professionals who work or come into contact with children and young people;
        e. The referral pathway into the Sunrise Team must be clearly communicated to all agencies and potential referral sources: the referral pathway should be simple and accessible;
        f. The Sunrise Team's approach should include physical, psychological, social and emotional assessments, plus immediate and ongoing assessments of risk, witness protection measures, support for the family and a key worker system.

The review can be read here.