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Tackling Child Sex Exploitation 'Must Remain Priority' In 2016

Tackling Child Sex Exploitation 'Must Remain Priority' In 2016

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 8:01am 9th January 2016.

Keeping up the hard work to tackle child sexual exploitation in Buckinghamshire needs to be a priority in 2016.

That's according to the woman who chaired an inquiry into how CSE is being dealt with in the county. It's being presented to the County Council's cabinet on Monday.

Val Letheren says she's confident it's still a priority for the council.

During the course of the CSE inquiry, committee members heard from a spectrum of professionals engaged in the fight against exploitation and from those directly affected by CSE, including a parent of a victim and many victims themselves.

They also recognised the valuable contribution made by Barnardos R U Safe to the protection of children and young people in the county.

Key findings from the report included the importance of helping secondary school children to become more risk aware and building resilience in children, particularly from an early age, to protect them from all forms of exploitation.

Members considered this to be their top priority for those working with children, particularly the County Council, Buckinghamshire Learning Trust and schools.

Val Letheren said:

"Child sexual exploitation has been high on everyone's agenda from cases which had occurred nationwide. Our Select Committee decided to undertake a full inquiry based on what is presently happening to tackle CSE in Buckinghamshire, and what more needs to be done by all the agencies involved, which include the County Council, Thames Valley Police, and sexual health providers.

"Everyone was invited to give a full contribution to the inquiry and our Committee Members put some very difficult questions to those contributors.

"The recommendations we shall be putting to Cabinet on Monday reflect the evidence we heard during our inquiry and the urgency required for their implementation to combat this heinous crime towards our most vulnerable young people.

"We are assured that the Council considers our work to be a top priority, and three of the recommendations we made in the report have already been implemented - these are an increase in the amount of the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board Chairman's time purchased by the partnership organisations; rollout of the Thames Valley Police 'Hotel Watch' awareness scheme across the entire county which was piloted in High Wycombe; and a unanimous vote by County Councillors to commit to having annual training on spotting the signs of CSE.

"I have every confidence that, together, we can fight this crime and keep far more of our young people safe and resilient in the face of the challenges they meet in their lives."

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