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BASW comment following sentencing in the Rochdale child sex abuse case

Read BASW’s latest Huffington Post blog which poses the question “Why do we only take notice of our teenagers when rapists are convicted?”

Commenting following sentencing of the Rochdale child sex abuse ring and reports that England’s children’s homes have recorded 631 incidents of girls being sold for sex during the past five years, Hilton Dawson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said:

“The convictions in Rochdale, compounded by these statistics, indicate the shocking scandal in UK children’s homes where, despite examples to the contrary, too many teenagers are insufficiently supported through difficult periods in their lives. The neglect and run down of this sector by successive governments and local authorities, has consistently undermined good professional practice and led to failures to support some of our neediest children.

“BASW has repeatedly emphasised the need for a recognition that child protection services should not only focus on young children. Despite shocking examples of the abuse of young children, such as Baby Peter Connelly and Victoria Climbié, which have rightly reverberated around the system for years afterwards, we can’t have a system whereby older children and teenagers are written off in resource-starved children’s homes and left vulnerable to such predatory groups of men.

“The government and local authorities should listen to social workers who have long been shouting for multi-agency workable protocols to protect such young people. We need dedicated political will to spread the message about how to notice the signs of sexual grooming and abuse across all communities, to parents, young people and all agencies who come into contact with young people.

“Social workers are being stretched too thin, and more staff are needed. There should be better communication between the police, health professionals, social services, and schools so that children can be better protected from such serious harm and encouraged to live fulfilled and positive lives.”