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Tackling child sexual exploitation: A resource pack for councils

Report and case studies

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a terrible crime with destructive and far reaching consequences for victims, their families, and society. It is not limited to any particular geography, ethnic or social background, and all councils should assume that CSE is happening in their area and take proactive action to prevent it.

This is not just a job for the lead member for children’s services or the local director of children’s services. This pack is aimed at elected members at all levels. We all have a role to play in keeping children safe, and councils cannot stamp out CSE without the help of the wider community. Councillors have a key role to play in this, and should not be afraid to raise these issues within the communities they represent.

Recent inquires have again highlighted the scale of the problem, and local agencies risk seeming unaware of the true extent of CSE in their area. It is vital that all partners work closely together to develop and implement robust, coordinated activity at all stages of a child’s journey, from identification to protection to treatment. Councils and their partners must use evidence and information to understand what is happening locally, develop a strategic response, support victims and facilitate police disruption activity and prosecutions.

Recent events have shown that all areas need to be prepared to respond to this challenge effectively, and there are many good examples of effective work to be found around the country for local government to share and learn from. It is vital that we learn from both mistakes and successes, and the case studies in this resource pack showcase some of the work that is already underway to improve local practice. These cover initiatives such as community engagement, regional work across local authority boundaries, building effective multi-agency partnerships and commissioning independent audits of local practice.