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15 March 2016

Action plan to tackle child sexual exploitation making good progress

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An action plan to raise awareness and tackle child sexual exploitation with the creation of a dedicated multi agency team working directly with victims is having a positive impact in Wiltshire.

In May 2015 Wiltshire Council set out an action plan to address child sexual exploitation (CSE) including raising awareness, working closely with partners and strengthening measures to tackle CSE at an earlier stage.

CSE is a crime which involves children and young people being forced or manipulated into sexual activity in exchange for something such as money, alcohol, drugs, gifts or accommodation. It can occur through the use of technology without the child realising they are being groomed.

A key development in the action plan has been the creation of the Emerald Team which works directly with CSE victims and alongside police. The team includes a missing person co-ordinator and is currently working with 55 children where there are CSE concerns.

The report discussed at cabinet today, rates the success of the team saying young people are increasingly confident in sharing information with professionals knowing that action will be taken.

Raising awareness on a wider scale is also part of the action plan and to date 222 taxi and bus drivers have completed training to help them spot the signs of CSE and they have been given advice on what to do if they have concerns. All drivers will now have to complete the training to renew their licence.

There is also close monitoring of the success of the actions, partnership working and learning from the lessons of CSE cases in other areas in the UK.

Currently 11 male perpetrators are being pursued by the police and their behaviour disrupted. All 11 have child abduction warning notices serviced against them which makes them liable for arrest if found with named children.

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children's services said: "We have a zero tolerance to CSE in Wiltshire and I'm pleased we have hard evidence our actions are making an impact on tackling CSE. We can never be complacent and we must constantly review our work to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our young people and to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice."

The Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board works closely with all partners, including Wiltshire Council, in monitoring activity to address CSE.

Mark Gurrey, chair of the Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board said: "We will continue to ensure raising awareness and tackling CSE remains a priority in Wiltshire and that we have effective services in place to protect and support our children."

Wiltshire Council will be supporting national CSE Awareness Day on 18 March. For more details on the day visit

http://www.stop-cse.org/national-child-exploitatio...

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