The plan was originally devised by Bradford Safeguarding Children Board in December 2014, but has recently been updated to reflect national and local developments. This includes the Government declaring CSE a national emergency in 2015, reinforcing the
need for it to be a high priority for local authorities, police and partner agencies.
A report to Bradford Council’s Executive on 20 September gives an update on how things have moved forward since the last progress report in January 2015
The Nine Point Strategic Response to CSE breaks down a district-wide response to CSE into nine priorities:
- A child, young person and victim-focused response
- Partners develop a multi-agency co-located team to work together to reduce the risk of CSE and bring offenders to justice
- A training plan is developed for all professionals and leaders, in particular in schools for teachers and pupils
- Faith and community leaders assisted in supporting communities through damage caused by CSE
- Support for organisations working with women and mothers
- Work plan developed aimed at boys aged 14-17 to tackle unacceptable attitudes on sexual abuse
- Partnership work to develop responses and resources to tackle impact of CSE in various communities
- Council and partners’ response developed to reduce opportunities for perpetrators to traffick and abuse young people
- Multi-agency historic investigations into CSE.
A large proportion of this work falls under the remit of the CSE Hub, a multi-agency hub set up in 2012. From April 2014-March 2015 the hub received 431 referrals. The figure for the same period in 2015/16 rose to 713. This demonstrates an awarness of the
hub and confidence in making a referral.
The hub also has responsibility for co-ordinating support for children who go missing. Staff include Bradford Council children’s services officers, West Yorkshire Police, Barnardo’s Turnaround Service and a nurse practitioner.
The report gives two anonymous case studies of teenage girls whose lives have been turned around since intervention from the hub which have required persistence by all agencies involved and illustrate the challenges faced in engaging victims.
BSCB carried out a partnership review of the hub from December 2015 to June 2016, looking at its work load, management and effectiveness. The review showed there was a need for improved signposting to therapeutic services for child and adult victims of sexual
exploitation. This is now being looked at by a steering group who will map current support and identify where more services are needed.
West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Council are also working in partnership to investigate historic CSE claims. There are currently 12 ongoing investigations. So far, there have been 28 arrests and 18 people are on bail and 127 potential victims have been
identified and interviewed. Even though these offences could have been committed many years ago, it is recognised that the effect on victims are long-lasting and some are receiving therapeutic support from health, social services and other agencies.
Since the last progress report, strides have been made in training and building on the success of a CSE awareness-raising theatre production in secondary schools, a new production called ‘Mr Shapeshifter’ has been piloted in nine primary schools and is
aimed at pupils in Year 6. This focuses on the risks of being groomed on smartphones and via the internet. After positive feedback, it will be rolled out to 60-90 schools across the district in 2016/17.
Various programmes have also been set up to work with different communities to raise awareness of CSE issues. These include the ‘Fragile’ project, run by the Muslim Women’s Council and Keighley Association Women and Children’s Centre, aimed at girls in the
BEM community; a number of events with the Sikh community; key agencies speaking at mosques and the Insight Programme which works with offenders, helping them recognise the impact of their actions and harm caused. Steps are also being made to create a programme
for men and boys as potential perpetrators as well as potential victims.
A successful training programme for Hackney carriage and private hire drivers launched in January 2015 has seen over 3,500 drivers trained in CSE awareness. The training is now mandatory for all new licence applicants and applicants for licence renewals.
Coun Val Slater, Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, said: “CSE is totally unacceptable and a deplorable crime which we need to do all we can to stamp out. A great deal of good work is going on to raise awareness, educate and support people in the district
around this issue, as well as investigating and bringing perpetrators to justice. All involved are constantly learning and striving to improve and shape these services. This report shows how much has been achieved so far.
"But we must remain focused and vigilant in order to protect children and young people."