Lib Dems call for working together after child sexual exploitation report

Following yesterday’s publication of a harrowing report into child sexual exploitation in Telford, Shropshire Lib Dem councillors called on the police and local councils must work together to implement the recommendations of an independent inquiry led by Tom Crowther QC.

The report found that child sexual exploitation thrived in Telford despite people working with children, including police officers, youth workers and teachers expressing concern. Those concerns were not taken sufficiently seriously by Telford & Wrekin council or West Mercia Police. The inquiry found that more than a thousand Telford children were exploited over decades and obvious signs of child sexual exploitation ignored. Nervousness about race, the main perpetrators were of Asian background, meant information was not properly shared between agencies and cases were not investigated. Some bodies dismissed child sexual exploitation as child prostitution and even blamed the children instead of the perpetrators. Teachers and youth workers were discouraged from reporting signs of child sexual exploitation.

The leaders of the Lib Dem groups on Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire councils said the report has given the victims a voice. The lessons learnt should never be forgotten and Crowther’s recommendations must be implemented.

Telford & Wrekin Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor Bill Tomlinson said:

We must thank the inquiry’s chair, Tom Crowther, for producing such a comprehensive report. It is very important that politicians and officials work together to ensure that all the lessons learnt by the inquiry are put into effect as soon as possible. All political parties should work together as the survivors do not want this issue to be a political football.

We all need to digest the harrowing contents of the inquiry report and resolve that this must never happen again. The report has at last given the victims a voice. We must ensure that never again will victims be blamed – it is a lesson for us all. It is important that the full report is digested and there are no knee jerk reactions.

So many reports are forgotten – left to gather dust on an official’s bookshelf or tucked away in an email file never to be accessed again. This must not happen in this case. The lessons learnt should never be forgotten and I would therefore support the recommendation that we have an annual review of our policies on child sexual exploitation and how they are working.

Shropshire Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor David Vasmer added:

We know that Telford is not the only town where appalling records of child sexual exploitation over many decades have been revealed.

I will be calling on Shropshire to adopt the recommendations in the Telford Inquiry Report and, like Cllr Tomlinson, I will also be calling for an annual review of our policies. Whatever mistakes were made in the past – and there were many – everyone must work together to make sure that child sexual exploitation on this scale never happens again. We owe that to the children who were so cynically abused because their voices were ignored.

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One Comment

  • Helen Dudden 15th Jul '22 - 9:54pm

    For many years, this crime of child abuse has not had the support it needs to bring justice.
    It’s illegal to have sexual contact with a minor, we have laws in place to protect but whatever the reasons, something is very wrong.
    I hope in the future things are different and every effort is made. Also, that the many children who have been abused have the support needed.

    I personally, have found this a heartbreaking situation.

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