Child sex abuse still rampant

Date published: 30 October 2014

CHILD sexual exploitation has become a “new social norm” in some parts of Greater Manchester - and won’t be stopped unless people stop blaming victims, a new report claims.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey’s independent inquiry into tackling child exploitation in Greater Manchester followed revelations in 2012 about the sickening acts of grooming gangs in Rochdale, which involved ringleaders Shabir Ahmed and Kabeer Hassan, both from Oldham.

Figures from Greater Manchester Police reveal many children are still prey for sexual predators, with 260 current police investigations. They include 174 recorded crimes, 18 of which involve multiple perpetrators.

In the past six years in Greater Manchester there have been around 1,000 convictions out of 13,000 reported cases of serious sexual offences against under-16s.

As a conclusion of her findings, the MP has said child sexual exploitation is a “real and ongoing problem” needing a change in public attitude - away from blaming the child victims.

Ms Coffey said: “We need to get across that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection. The age of consent in this country is 16 and adults who prey on children under that age are always wrong.”

The Coffey Report recommends a radical new approach to tackling CSE to be led by young people, which recognises that the police, justice system and children’s services alone cannot succeed in protecting children, especially at a time of deep spending cuts.

Ms Coffey also calls for child exploitation to be declared a public health priority like alcohol, drugs and obesity.

The independent Coffey Report was commissioned by Tony Lloyd, the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, to see what more needs to be done in the region.

Mr Lloyd said: “This report can be a catalyst for real change. We all have a responsibility to act and the time to do that is now.”

Areas of concern

::There have only been 1,078 convictions out of 12,879 reported cases of major sexual offences against children under 16 years old in Greater Manchester in the last six years.

One victim was described as a “slag” by her foster carer and no further action was taken.

14,712 children and young people have gone missing and absent from home and care in Greater Manchester from January to September this year.

Children’s homes are ignoring government guidance to report when a child at risk of child sexual exploitation moves in from another area.

There are currently 260 police investigations into child sex exploitation in Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police figures on recorded sexual offences for under 18 year olds between June last year and this May show only 111 cases out of 1,691 were flagged on the police computer as child sexual exploitation.