Thomas Bridge 25 November 2014

Child sexual exploitation inquiry prompts renewed commitment from Birmingham

Birmingham has emphasised its commitment to tackling child sexual exploitation after an inquiry found 132 young people were vulnerable to or experiencing abuse.

The report from Cllr Anita Ward, chair of the city council’s education and vulnerable children scrutiny committee, applauded the ‘tireless’ efforts of members within the local authority and its partner agencies to protect children, yet warned abuse required the town hall’s ‘full attention’.

Cllr Ward highlighted exploitation was ‘largely underreported’ in Birmingham, while ‘many children in the city may be at risk who we do not know about’. As of September 2014, there were 132 local young people known to be at risk or victims of CSE.

The publication of the inquiry follows the national scandal caused by the Jay report into CSE in Rotherham. Last week also saw Ofsted raising pressure on local authorities to ‘ensure past mistakes are never repeated’ surrounding abuse.

Cllr Ward said: ‘We cannot and should not wait for a high profile case to rear its head in Birmingham. Much has been achieved already here, but there is more to be done.’

Cllr Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children and family services, added: ‘We are committed, as are our partner agencies, to tackling this crime together, and Scrutiny colleagues recognise we are starting to make real progress in this direction.

‘This report provides an important health check on that response and recommendations for strengthening it for the future.’

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