2014 | Alexis Jay

Independent Inquiry into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham, covering the periods 1997-2009 and 2009-2013. Estimates that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham during the period covered by the Inquiry. Reports that, in over a third of cases, children were known to agencies because of child protection and neglect concerns. Issues identified include: evidence prior to 2007 of an emphasis on protecting younger children to the exclusion of older CSE victims, some as young as 11-years-old; lack of accountability in Rotherham Safeguarding Children Board for monitoring the implementation and outcome of policies and procedures to tackle CSE; insufficient management response to the wide-spread exploitation of children in care; and the message from some senior Council and Police managers to ‘downplay’ the ethnic dimensions of CSE, leading to frontline staff being confused about how to act and how to determine what would be seen as ‘racist’. Makes recommendations, including: ensuring that resources are available to support continuing preventive work with children who have been exploited, particularly if the children or family are unlikely to disclose behaviours that could put the child at risk of harm; development of a more strategic approach to protecting looked after children who are sexually exploited, including improved arrangements for supporting children in out-of-area placements; and ensuring access to support services and outreach work with children affected by CSE.