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Report findings show 'failure' to protect vulnerable

David Tucker, head of policy at the NSPCC, said the Home Affairs Select Committee report into the targeting of young white girls for sexual exploitation was a "damning indictment of systemic failure to protect vulnerable children and young people".

He continued:

Obvious signs of abuse were missed by a number of agencies and there is no excuse for the way these girls were let down, often by the very people who were meant to protect and care for them.

The victims in recent child sexual exploitation cases were too often ignored or treated as troublemakers.

There now needs to be a culture change among police, CPS, the judiciary, and all child protection professionals, so they better understand how grooming gangs operate, and how young people's behaviour could be a sign they are at risk of, or suffering, sexual exploitation.

There must also be tougher action against predatory sex offenders who deliberately target the most vulnerable children, including sentences that reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed and act as a strong deterrent to anyone thinking about sexually exploiting children and young people.

Read: MPs send out warning over child abuse grooming

Councils 'inexcusably slow' to react to child grooming

The Home Affairs Select Committee said councils in Rochdale and Rotherham, which has also seen similar serious claims of child abuse grooming, were "inexcusably slow" to realise that sexual abuse was taking place on their doorstep.

Both councils had a "woeful lack of professional curiosity" and must be accountable for the "appalling consequences of their indifference to the suffering of vulnerable children".

The Committee called on the Ministry of Justice to put in place a number of reforms to court processes such as introducing specialist courts for child exploitation cases.

In addition, sufficient funding must be ensured for prevention and intervention for children at risk of sexual exploitation.

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MPs send out warning over child abuse grooming

A model of Pakistani-heritage men targeting young white girls for sexual exploitation does exist and authorities must be able to freely raise concerns without fear of being labelled racist, an influential group of MPs has concluded.

Police, social workers and others must acknowledge this issue, which featured in recent high-profile grooming cases in Rochdale and Oxford, the Home Affairs Select Committee said.

However, the Committee added that there was no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation and warned against stereotyping offenders.

After its inquiry into localised grooming, that is when a group of abusers target vulnerable children, the Committee said it believes there are still places in the UK where victims are being failed by statutory agencies.

Committee chair Keith Vaz said: "This has been a harrowing inquiry in which we have heard of children being treated in an appalling way not just by their abusers but, because of catastrophic failures by the very agencies that society has appointed to protect them."

Warsi: Political correctness could 'distort' report findings

The senior foreign minister Baroness Warsi has said she is concerned that political correctness could lead to statistics on the sexual abuse of children being distorted.

It follows concerns that today's report by the Children's Commissioner was not explicit enough in highlighting the ethnicity of perpetrators of sexual crimes.

She said: "If the victim takes us to a perpetrator who is white, black, brown, of whatever religion background, then we must investigate that fully".

Report: Abusers use catalogue to choose children

One of the case studies highlighted in a report on the sexual exploitation of children in gangs and groups describes a business providing children for wealthy clients to abuse at parties.

It even describes a catalogue featuring photographs and the ages of children for abusers to choose their victims. Here are some of the details from 12-year-old Teegan's case:

  • She was taken by a man to a series of "mansions" where she was raped by multiple men
  • The men paid up to £500 for an hour with her
  • Groomers would form 'relationships with vulnerable children on the street before passing them on to the men who ran the business

Report criticised for downplaying role of 'Asian abusers'

A report on sexual exploitation of children by gangs and groups has been criticised for failing to highlight the number of perpetrators identified as 'Asian'.

The Times (£) reports that the Education Secretary Michael Gove believes the report has "played down the role of groups of Asian abusers".

It also quotes a former Labour MP as saying it is wrong to ignore a statistic that is “staring us in the face”.

The Daily Mail quotes the Tory MP Margot James as saying: "There is a specific problem in certain Asian communities ... in too many cities to ignore the phenomenon."

The report says that ethnic data on perpetrators is "considerably less reliable than that supplied on age or gender" and that the data is "weighted in favour of those areas and agencies that were able to identify perpetrators".

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Deputy Children's Commissioner denies report is hysterical

The Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz has countered criticism of her report on child sexual exploitation describing it as "calm" and "measured".

Responding to accusations that the report was "hysterical", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she had left out the most harrowing details.

She also said there was a risk of too much attention being given to high-profile cases involving Pakistani men.

She said this was just one of many models of exploitation and that data on the ethnicity of perpetrators only exists in six out of 10 cases.

Sixteen-year-old 'passed around' at boyfriend's parties

One of the case studies highlighted in a report on the sexual exploitation of children in gangs and groups is that of 16-year-old Marina.

  • Marina was regularly sexually exploited by local white shop owners in exchange for alcohol and cigarettes
  • Her 14-year-old sister was also frequently abused
  • She was driven to parties where she would be raped by multiple party-goers
  • She also reported going to parties at her older "boyfriend's" house where she was passed around his friends

Play therapy to help abused children

Barnardo's children's charity runs projects and schemes across the country supporting children, young people and families where abuse has happened.

Play therapy is used by Barnados to help staff spot if children are being abused Credit: Daybreak / Katy Fawcett

These may offer therapy and counselling to help children come to terms with what has happened to them and move forward in life, and offer support to non-abusing parents to help them protect their children in future.

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