Child Sexual Exploitation: The West Midlands Response

Child Sexual Exploitation is not a new phenomenon and Local Authorities have had statutory guidance to follow since 2009. However this form of abuse and more specifically the professional response to it was brought under significant public scrutiny following the failings highlighted in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997 – 2013, which was published in August 2014. Although by no means the only report that highlighted the lessons we needed to learn, it was the clear catalyst for increased co-ordination and focus on the work that was taking place or needed progressing within Local Authorities and partnerships on how we comprehensively prevent CSE, protect victims and pursue offenders.

The Government’s response via the March 2015 paper “Tackling CSE” was to make a number of commitments as to what they would do to promote progress on the agenda one of which was to give CSE the status of National Threat in Strategic Policing. However, it is important that in June 2016, CSE continues to be a priority for the ADCS network, the Police, the LSCBs and the associated partner agencies.

The below is a roundup of the key activity, new and on-going, across the West Midlands:

  1. Briefing
  • Member Briefings / Cabinet Meetings / Focus for Scrutiny / Health and Wellbeing Board / including information for opposition/shadow members
  • Briefing Council staff including Corporate Leadership Teams and Social Care Workforce
  1. Informing
  • Campaigning – The See Me, Hear Me campaign was launched in June 2014 to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. The website is refreshed regularly and has a variety of resources for professionals and local businesses including a series of short awareness raising films and downloadable materials for professionals and businesses. This has also included outdoor advertising, targeted digital advertising and radio advertising. Warwickshire launched the “Something’s Not Right” campaign in March 2015, which was developed by their multi agency CSE team and was designed to raise awareness of CSE.
  • Community events & roadshows – particularly over the week leading up to CSE awareness day on 18th March 2016 a number of community activities, events and roadshows were arranged to alert members of the community to the signs of CSE and where they can get advice and support.
  • Social Media – the CSE network across the region has a significant social media presence which is used to share and promote key messages and raise awareness through an extensive online following.
  • Training – on going and increasingly co-ordinated training with taxi drivers, licensed premises and other areas of the night time economy, including the development of resources to support the training.
  • Awareness raising events with partners: GPs, Mental Health workers, Police
  1. Doing Strategically
  • Piloting the LGA CSE diagnostic peer review with a view to rolling out peer review across the region.
  • CSE co-ordinators network that is working on an agreed set of work streams and reporting into the ADCS network; missing people, rising 18s, family/parents/carers work, work with offenders, abused recruiters, e-safety and PSHE, learning disability, cross border and information sharing.
  • Development of an outcomes framework
  • Self-assessment and evaluation of the Child Sexual Exploitation and Missing operational groups to improve consistency of response.
  • Joint training offer across a number of LAs to increase capacity and improve efficiency.
  • Learning from CSE thematic multi agency audits and case reviews
  • Development of a sub-regional data set to consider the nature and scale of the CSE threat.
  • Focus on developing a comprehensive, co-ordinated and consistent response to children who go missing from home and care.
  • Work with Police colleagues to improve the collation of and response to intelligence from partners.
  • Developing a Public Health response starting with a conference that brought together key public health and CSE professionals to co-design a public health response to CSE.
  1. Doing operationally
  • Resourcing a CSE coordinator and implementation officer – funded jointly by partners
  • Bringing together a response team to offer advice to victims, families and professionals
  • Putting a CSE team into the MASH
  • Making an e-learning package available
  • Reviewing cases to ensure CSE is being correctly identified
  • Operations Groups (CMOGs) – are central in tracking and pursuing offenders and supporting victims, driven by a core team of; a senior police investigator and key decision-makers from Children’s Services, NHS, voluntary & community sector, youth services, probation, licensing and others.
  • Justice – Police and Local Authorities are working hard as a partnership in MASE meetings and CMOGs to secure Sexual Risk Orders and other civil interventions against suspected perpetrators; engaging with licensing to close venues or amend licence conditions and there are a number of on-going criminal investigations but we are engaging with the CPS to ensure that we get as many cases as possible through to prosecution.
  • Using data to develop an effective early help and prevention response to improve early identification and preventing escalation of risk.

What LSCBs are doing

  • Auditing practice
  • Offer leadership and Governance via the LSCB CSE strategic sub groups
  • Publishing and engaging with the sub regional data set
  • Sign up to the sub regional framework
  • Review of regional LSCB procedures to incorporate CSE and missing
  • CSE and missing are priorities for the LSCB

Resources / Good practice produced by the 7 West Midlands Met Authorities

See Me, Hear Me” Website http://www.seeme-hearme.org.uk/ : includes downloadable and printable resources for professionals, hoteliers and taxi professionals as well as information, advice and signposting for children, young people, parents and carers.

“Somethings Not Right” Website – http://warwickshirecse.co.uk/

See Me Hear Me Framework – West Midlands Met Region Framework which includes: TOR for MASE and CMOG, performance management framework for LSCBs, Screening Tool, Risk Assessment and other useful templates.

Other Useful Information

  • Evidence scope commissioned by Greater Manchester Project Phoenix and funded by the DfE Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme – looks at the evidence base for what is effective practice to address CSE. https://www.basw.co.uk/resource/?id=4755

The executive summary outlines key research findings and is one of a number of products of the study. These include, a full research report, an easy-read summary, a practice guide, nation-specific briefing papers. All of the above can be downloaded from www.barnardos.org.uk/cse-learningdisabilities

  • A series of 12 short films aimed at anyone who wants to access learning from the latest research on CSE undertaken by researchers in “The International Centre: Researching CSE, violence and trafficking” at the University of Bedfordshire, as well as drawing on wider CSE literature. Each film is accompanied by a short briefing document which outlines the evidence in more detail with links to the original research and questions for reflection. http://www.beds.ac.uk/ic/films