Progress being made on child protection in Telford
More than 300 calls of concern around child sexual exploitation have been reported to a council in the last year, a report has revealed.
Over the last year, Telford & Wrekin Council received 337 contacts raising concerns about CSE, relating to 225 children.
Its dedicated CSE team, called Cate, has also received 58 referrals to its service, and at the end of March of this year was working with 68 young people.
The information has been revealed in a report to the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on September 12. The report is an update on the past year of the council’s multi-agency working against CSE.
In May of last year, the committee released a 101-page report outlining ways to combat the growing problem. It included a total of 38 recommendations on how the council can better protect children. This new report shows progress is being made.
Over the past 12 months, the Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board has worked with partners to set up information from a number of agencies which monitors how the crime is referred to the council.
Of the 337 contacts the council received, 43.3 per cent came from other local authority services, 27 per cent came from police and 17.2 per cent came from education providers, with the final 12.5 per cent coming from members of the public, victim support, housing providers and health providers including GPs and school nurses.
Of these, more than half, 56 per cent, were taken along outlined child protection procedures for CSE and child protection, while 22 per cent were referred on to other agencies and a further 22 per cent provided with information and advice.
Of the 68 young people working with the Cate team 62 were female and six were male, with seven being aged 13, 28 being between 14 and 15, 31 between the ages of 16 to 17 and two aged 18 or over.
The report says: “The Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board will continue to monitor and challenge the progress made against the recommendations.”
Anyone concerned about a child can contact the safeguarding board on 01952 385386 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. The emergency duty line outside working hours is on 01952 676500.
Hotel and taxi staff being trained
Hotel staff and taxi drivers are among those being given training in steps to help reduce the number of children being placed at risk.
More than 220 hotel workers have been given advice on the signs of child sexual exploitation that may be happening where they work and how to report their suspicions.
Taxi operators in Telford also now have a designated CSE contact for drivers to report concerns to, confidentially, and display relevant CSE material on their premises.
Work has also been done to raise awareness of CSE in the community, so parents know what to be aware of.
The news comes as Telford’s MP was today set to meet with the Justice Secretary David Liddington over laws regarding the early release of child rapists.
Lucy Allan wrote to Justice Secretary David Liddington, to ask why a law to prevent certain criminals being freed on reaching the halfway point on their sentence was not applied to Telford sex offender Mubarek Ali.
She has now called for a possible amendment to the law to ensure it applies to perpetrators of child sexual exploitation serving custodial sentences at the time the act came into effect. Yesterday she raised a question in the House of Commons regarding the release f Ali and the adequacy of sentences given to perpetrators of CSE. Minister of State for courts and justice, Dominic Raab MP, said he was “unable to intervene in individual cases”and that no retrospective action could be taken.
Measures in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act were introduced by then justice secretary Chris Grayling MP in April 2015 to prevent serious criminals, including child rapists, from being automatically released at the halfway point of their custodial sentence – and then only under strict conditions at the discretion of a parole board.
Ali’s release was triggered automatically and at no time was the parole board involved in the decision to allow him to be freed in November.
Ms Allan wants steps taken to prevent this from happening in the future.
Ali, 34, of Regent Street Wellington, was given a sentence of 22 years – 14 years’ immediate custody and eight years on licence for seven offences including child prostitution and trafficking.
Ali’s release after five years has been triggered automatically as, with remand, he is technically half way through the custodial element of his 22 year sentence.
Because his actual jail term was only 14 years of that total sentence, and because he served time in custody on remand before his sentence, his November release is automatic at the halfway point of his sentence.
But if he commits any offences while on licence, he is liable to be recalled to prison for the full 22 years.