Telford and Wrekin Council denies mishandling cases of child sexual exploitation and claims each incident is ‘appropriately recorded and thoroughly investigated.’
The council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee revealed that last year 137 cases of suspected child sexual abuse were reported and only 45 were referred to the council’s Safeguarding Children board.
In an open letter, the council defended their record of dealing with such cases citing a recent Ofsted report that found the council worked well with its partners when dealing with sexual offences against children.
‘Work with children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation is very strong,’ the report said.
‘The local authority has been a champion for tackling this issue. It provides leadership to partner agencies, with who this work is well co-ordinated. Work to protect children who go missing from home or care is thorough and improving.’
‘There is a strong commitment from the local authority and its partners to tackle child sexual exploitation... Consequently, young people receive comprehensive and well-coordinated services that make a positive difference,’ it added.
Dealing specifically with the fact that only 45 out of 137 suspected cases of child abuse were referred to the Safeguarding Children board, the open letter said: ‘We would like to assure people that every single report is appropriately recorded and thoroughly investigated.’
The letter added: ‘By their nature, investigations into child sex abuse are complex and this is why Telford has a dedicated child sexual exploitation policing team whose sole focus is on protecting children from harm and bringing offenders to justice.’