In a follow up to last year's interim report, the Office of the Children's Commissioner has revealed that services are still continuing to fail and protect children from sexual exploitation in gangs and groups.
Only 6% of local safeguarding children boards have fully implemented government guidance put in place in 2009 on tackling sexual exploitation, despite the high-profile exposure of brutal child grooming gangs in Rotherham, Rochdale, Derby and Oxford, according to the report.
However, the report also identifies pockets of effective practice around the country for tackling child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups. Good examples were found across all agencies and sectors including the Police, schools, the voluntary sector, children's services and sexual health provision.
The report points the way forward by presenting a child-centred framework for professionals who commission, plan or provide services to tackle child sexual exploitation. See Me, Hear Me, a framework for protecting children, which has been based on the Inquiry’s extensive body of evidence, aims to ensure that agencies can no longer ignore child victims. By posing a series of questions developed with young people who have been victims of sexual exploitation, it forces professionals to focus relentlessly on the child and ensure the right actions are taken to make them safe, keep them safe and support them through to recovery.
The questions place the focus of attention firmly on the child and their needs and identify the essential support professionals require if they are to do this complex work effectively.