A critical report into child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester claims it's become a 'social norm' in some areas.
Stockport MP Ann Coffey produced the report in the wake of the Rochdale grooming scandal. It concludes there is a culture of blaming children for being abused and agencies need to work closely to tackle the problem. There are also calls in the report called 'Real Voices' for child sexual exploitation to be declared a public health priority like alcohol or drugs.
Young people are still too often being blamed for being a victim. We need to get across the key message that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection.
Ms Coffey recommends a radical new approach to tackling CSE to be led by young people, which recognises that the police, justice system and children’s services alone cannot succeed in protecting children, especially at a time of deep spending cuts.
She expressed concern that the Crown Prosecution Service highlighted that one victim wore cropped tops and that another had been described as a ‘slag’ by her father in cases that were declared “No Further Action”.
The independent Coffey Report was commissioned by Tony Lloyd, the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, to see what haschanged since the Rochdale grooming case in 2012 and what more needs to be done.
This is a challenging report, but it’s also one that’s full of hope. It is clear that agencies who are tasked with keeping our young people safe have made huge mistakes in the past. The report makes clear about how far we have come since the terrible events of the Rochdale grooming case, but its recommendations must be implemented if we are serious about righting past wrongs.