Agenda item

Child Sexual Exploitation


The Community Safety Manager delivered a very detailed presentation in respect of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and in so doing highlighted the following:


·                CSE could involve gangs or individuals sexually exploiting children.

·                Contrary to popular myth boys could be just as vulnerable to CSE as girls, but were less likely to report the issue and more likely to be criminalised.

·                CSE was happening in nearly every town and city in the country.

·                There had been some cases of CSE in Redditch, including one where the perpetrator had been sentenced to eight years in prison.

·                It was often assumed that those from migrant communities would be trafficked but young people from all backgrounds could be trafficked across local authority boundaries.

·                Frequently children would view their initial contact with their perpetrators as being exciting.

·                Sometimes children would not recognise that they were being abused but would think that they were in a relationship with an adult.

·                Where family breakdowns occurred children were often at increased risk of CSE, with some searching for a father figure.

·                Children who had been victims of bullying were also at an increased risk of CSE as they would welcome the initial attention from what might appear to be a friendly adult.

·                There had been a lot of cases in the national press of perpetrators targeting looked after children, including those in foster care, as they were particularly vulnerable and viewed as being easier to entice.

·                The Community Safety Partnership had been advised that anywhere where children and young people gathered was a high risk location for CSE.

·                There were a number of risk factors which could indicate that a child was the victim of CSE, or at risk of exploitation.  This included a child mentioning the name of an adult not previously referenced in conversation, increased visits to sexual health services and teenage pregnancy.

·                The sexual health service team monitored those using their services and this could help staff to identify children and young people who were potentially at risk.

·                Regular meetings were held at the safeguarding hub in Worcestershire to help target and support those children at greatest risk of exploitation.

·                SOCJAG focused on CSE as part of its remit in relation to serious organised crime.  A key part of their approach was to protect, prepare, preview and prevent CSE.

·                Where there was a suspicion that CSE was occurring but there was no evidence to support an arrest, disruption of group gatherings was important to help prevent exploitation.

·                The Community Safety Partnership commissioned mentors to help support those children at risk of CSE.

·                The Local Government Association had produced a resource pack for elected Councillors to help them recognise the signs of CSE.

·                Workers in the public sector had been advised by the government to be careful about the language that they used.  For example it was important to recognise that children were being coerced into CSE; they were not in relationships.


Members subsequently discussed the following points relating to CSE:


·                The process that was followed when children did not attend school and whether data protection rules created barriers to reporting concerns about truancy to the relevant authorities.  Members were advised that data protection rules should not prevent schools from raising concerns about persistent truants and consent was not always needed, particularly in cases where there was a risk of CSE.

·                The arrangements in schools to identify those at risk of CSE. Members noted that many schools, including academy schools, employed Education Enforcement Officers who picked up on issues such as truancy.

·                The progress achieved over the last ten years in terms of raising awareness of the risk of CSE, with increasing recognition that CSE could occur anywhere.

·                The fact that perpetrators could come from any background and the need to avoid stereotyping the type of person or groups of people who would commit this crime.

·                The safeguarding lead for the Council.  Members were advised that the Head of Community Services was the lead Safeguarding Officer.  In her absence the Head of Leisure and Cultural Services could be contacted and in their absence the Children’s Centre Manager.


Members concluded by noting that the Local Government Association’s resource pack in relation to tackling CSE would be helpful for all Councillors.  Therefore it was agreed that a copy should be circulated for the consideration of all Members.




1)        the Local Government Association’s ‘Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: A Resource Pack for Councils’ should be circulated for the consideration of every member of the Council; and


2)        the report be noted.

Supporting documents: