Child Sex Trial: Rochdale Borough Council 'regret'
Date published: 08 May 2012
Rochdale Borough Council has expressed regret that the support and assistance needed by the children sexually exploited by nine local men was not given by the Council. However, the Council has also given assurance that procedures have now changed and improved as a result of the lessons learnt since 2008/09.
Cheryl Eastwood, Executive Director for Children, Schools and Families at Rochdale Borough Council said: “I welcome today’s verdict but know there is a great deal more to do to tackle child sexual exploitation and the abuse of vulnerable people. The young women in this case have been very brave. We now do much more to improve our responses to children who are exploited and do more preventative work by raising awareness of the issue amongst young people, parents and professional staff.
“The way all safeguarding partner agencies, police, health and social care respond to cases of child sexual exploitation has changed almost beyond recognition since 2008. At that time there was relatively little known about sexual exploitation in this context. There was very little research and no statutory guidance to assist practitioners and guide interventions. We, along with other agencies working with the young women involved in the recent court case are now aware, with the benefit of hindsight, recent local learning and national safeguarding initiatives, that we missed some opportunities to offer more support and assistance to them in 2008 and 2009.”
“We deeply regret that, and are confident that we are now more able to intervene earlier and more robustly when cases of concern are brought to our attention.
"We applaud the bravery of these young women in bringing these cases to court, and are pleased that staff from a variety of agencies have been able to support them.”
“The education of all staff has now improved to such an extent that they now see CSE as part of a wider pattern of behaviour and offending. Therefore, reports of abuse are no longer taken in isolation and treated as stand-alone crimes. This new approach includes much earlier involvement with key partners such as children’s services and the Police.”
“Like all towns, this area has learned a great deal from the best practice research and the governments National Action Plan published at the end of last year. We have reviewed our practice and developed much better ways of working to ensure that, as far as possible, young people are protected and supported and that abusers are brought to justice more quickly.”
“We now do much more to improve our responses to children who are exploited and preventative work by raising awareness of the issue amongst young people, and professional staff.”
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