A stocktake report into tackling Child Sex Exploitation (CSE) in Oxfordshire has highlighted good progress made by all organisations tackling the issue.
The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board (OSCB) published the report today (Thursday) and mentioned progress in bringing more perpetrators to justic through the use of new disruption methods and ensuring schools, academies, Further Education colleges and the wider community understand how to spot the signs of children at risk of exploitation.
But it also describes the need to continue to prevent abuse and exploitation and notes five areas in particular that require further work.
They include the regulation and use of taxis; a greater understanding of who the perpetrators of CSE are and the commissioning of services to provide help and therapy for children into adulthood.
Maggie Blyth, the independent chair of the OSCB, said: “The partnership in Oxfordshire has moved a long way together to address the problem of CSE, identify collective solutions and produce some tangible evidence of impact.
“This has led to other improvements to help children, such as tackling self-harm, neglect within families and female genital mutilation. There is much stronger engagement from NHS organisations, policing, schools and the faith, community and voluntary sectors working with parents and children and district authorities and the county council to provide solutions.”
The report was commissioned following the publication of the Serious Case Review A-F in March and was required by the Children’s Minister and Ministers from the Home Office and Department of Health who wrote to the Independent Chair of the OSCB requesting an update on the impact of services to tackle CSE across Oxfordshire on children and families.
Banbury was at the centre of a CSE case last year when six men were found guilty of committing serious sexual offences against vulnerable young girls. They were jailed for a combined total of 31 years and nine months.
Thames Valley Police has also responded to the OSCB’s stocktake report, and superintendent Christian Bunt, Oxford City local police commander, said: “In recent years there has been a significant amount of progress in the way we prevent, identify, disrupt and investigate child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire and across the Thames Valley.
“As LPA commander for Oxford City and Chair of the OSCB Child Sexual Exploitation sub group, I welcome the findings of the report, which recognises the solid progress made by Thames Valley Police and our partners and accept its recommendations.
“Child sexual exploitation is and will remain a local and Force wide priority.
“My officers and staff deliver focused work with schools, business and the wider community to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
“In Oxfordshire, we have a dedicated unit, the Kingfisher team, where police officers, social workers and health and education professionals work together to encourage victims to come forward, provide them with support and identify and prosecute offenders.
“This approach has led to us bringing more perpetrators to justice.
“There will always be more work to do in this important area and we will continue to work tirelessly to tackle child sexual exploitation in order to safeguard victims and bring the men who commit these crimes to justice.”