Coventry City Council has apologised for not providing better care and support to five girls who were sexually exploited.
The girls, aged between 13 and 15 and all known to social services, were in a housing unit and foster care in 2012, when police began investigating allegations about sexual assaults.
A serious case review by the council said the children had ‘experienced appalling violence, intimidation and sexual exploitation over a considerable period of time.’
It concluded: ‘In assessing the overall experience of the children in this case, it must be acknowledged that ultimately their needs were not adequately met and they remained at risk and vulnerable for too long.’
A spokesperson for the council said: ‘It is clear from the review that five young people, who should have expected better care and support, were let down and for that we are sorry.
‘While the events the review describes may not seem very long ago, it does highlight that at that time there were gaps in our knowledge of CSE [Child Sexual Exploitation] and the best practice for dealing with the signs that young people were at risk of CSE.’
The council said it has implemented reforms to improve their methods for protecting vulnerable people.
‘Those changes include a real focus on early intervention work to try and recognise and deal with issues before they escalate,’ a spokesperson said.
‘The other main practical change is the formation of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) which brings together all the key agencies in the city to work much more closely and effectively on the safeguarding of children and young people.’
‘Identifying and preventing the sexual exploitation of children and young people is everyone’s responsibility and we will continue to work closely with all our partners to make children safer,’ the spokesperson added.