CSE and Missing Children Thematic Report - ADCS Comment

Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“The report recognises that progress has been made by all agencies since the thematic inspection on CSE in 2014 and suggests that children at risk of exploitation, or subject to it, are now better supported. This reflects the progress being made by all agencies in many areas beyond the five inspected by Ofsted.

“The report rightly highlights the importance of preventative work in local areas and the emphasis placed on raising awareness in local communities of CSE is described as a real strength. Alongside this work local authorities are commissioning or developing specialist training for teachers and taxi drivers, for example. The report also highlights the critical role schools play in helping children and young people recognise the signs and symptoms of grooming and understand what healthy relationships look like. This is positive but local authorities cannot influence or instruct all schools to deliver these vital life lessons to their pupils and we would urge central government to review its position on the design and delivery of PHSE in all schools.

“It is concerning to read that inspectors found that in too many areas frontline health services had insufficient resources to appropriately deal with CSE. Child protection should be a priority and we would urge that this spend is protected.

“While our understanding of CSE is constantly evolving, perpetration models are becoming more sophisticated, increasingly enabled by technology and with closer links to wider criminal networks and activities. There is no room for complacency and the work happening in Croydon to map perpetration profiles and trends was highlighted in the report as an example of good practice.

“Child protection is complex and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Our ultimate goal must be stopping abuse and preventing children from going missing in the first place, hearing from victims and their families to strengthen how we respond to and support those at risk is central to this. It’s important that we come together as a sector and share good practice from places who do this difficult and complex work well and there is a clear role for central government in facilitating this sharing and learning.”


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