Today’s serious case review into the grooming of young girls in Oxfordshire will have ‘far-reaching consequences’ for the way child sexual exploitation is handled, according to social workers.
The College of Social Work says the findings of the review are ‘deeply disturbing’ and should lead to changes in the way exploitation is dealt with by frontline staff and leaders.
Jo Cleary, chair of the College of Social Work, said: ‘It is clear that there was a culture of complacency in Oxfordshire which allowed grooming to go unidentified, and resulted in children’s voices being unheard for an unacceptably long time. The findings demonstrate – as did those in Rotherham – the way in which institutions can deny the stark reality of abuse and its consequences.
‘It is the absolute responsibility of senior politicians and managers to create organisational climates which enable professionals to do their jobs effectively, and escalate their concerns when services are not properly protecting children.’
The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) also said the review some serious questions about the way the victims were treated, calling it a ‘sad’ day for social work profession.
‘The report highlights that significant concerns about children were not escalated, processes and whistleblowing was not evidenced within and across partnership organisations including health, children’s services and the police and we need to ask why,’ said Maris Stratulis, England manager at BASW.
‘Is it about the child not being visible, heard or valued? Or is it a lack of awareness, insight, fear, ineffective supervision, or not seeing the bigger picture?’