Bradford authorities have apologised for failing to protect victims of child sexual exploitation

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A review of five cases that took place in the Bradford district from 2001 onwards has found that “children suffered abuse no child should have to experience”.

The Bradford Partnership, made up of a number of different organisations including Bradford Council, the police and local charities, has published an independent thematic Serious Case Review of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the district.

The independent review was commissioned following the sentencing of nine men who were jailed over the sexual exploitation of girls who had been in council care. The report, written by Clare Hyde of Foundation for Families, said the stories from the children were ‘difficult to hear’ and had shone a light on the failings in responses to CSE in Bradford over a 17 year period.

The report noted that while there had been considerable work done in relation to child sexual exploitation (CSE), there were still lessons that need to be learned and the response to some victims was not yet good enough.

It concluded that agencies in Bradford did not always get it right and that despite significant improvements in understanding and responding to more recent cases of CSE, some children remain unprotected while some perpetrators remain unknown and unchallenged. This comes despite improvements in understanding and responses to child sexual exploitation between historic and current cases. The Bradford Partnership said it “fully accepts more needs to be done”.

You can view the CSE review here: Safer Bradford – Bradford CSE Thematic Review published

I have represented a number of people who were victims of CSE whilst in the local authority care.  This report highlights issues that I have seen in other areas of the country and demonstrates the importance of understanding the extent of CSE.   It is, of course, deeply worrying that the report found that some children remain unprotected and at a risk. Childhood sexual exploitation and abuse can understandably have a devastating impact on someone’s life.  It is extremely important that the agencies involved don’t just recognise that more needs to be done but challenge themselves to ensure vulnerable children for whom they are responsible are protected from CSE.

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Gary Walker

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Bernadette Chelvanayagam of Enable Law, Exeter.

Bernadette Chelvanayagam

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