Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry

Today, a 138 page document has been published which is the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation. The Inquiry is being led by Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children’s Commissioner and Chief Executive and this report is the first year’s findings of a planned two year inquiry.

Below are two short extracts from the Inquiry:

Extract 1 taken from page 22 – What prompted the OCC Inquiry: “Amid mounting concern about child sexual exploitation, and the inadequate responses to it described below, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner took the decision to get to the root of the problem, draw information together from disparate agencies, and to find ways of tackling it.

The OCC also became increasingly concerned about emerging information that children are being sexually exploited in both groups and gangs.”

Extract 2 taken from page 9 – Executive Summary: “Based on evidence submitted to the CSEGG Inquiry, at least 16,500 children were identified as being at risk of child sexual exploitation during one year and 2,409 children were confirmed as victims of sexual exploitation in gangs and groups during the 14-month period from August 2010 to October 2011.

Evidence to the Inquiry indicates that in any given year the actual number of children being abused is far greater than the 2,409 that have been confirmed. Interviews with children and young people, evidence collected during site visits and gathered at hearing sessions all indicated that many children who were sexually exploited either remained unseen by professionals or, even when known, were not recorded in the call for evidence submissions received by the OCC.

16,500 children from across England were identified as being at high risk of child sexual exploitation during the period April 2010-March 2011. This figure is based on children who displayed three or more signs of behaviour indicating they were at risk of child sexual exploitation.”

As a result of the findings, the Office for the Children’s Commission is now calling for urgent action to protect vulnerable children and is asking all agencies working with children to immediately ensure that their staff are made aware of the list of warning signs.

The runs online or face-to-face training courses covering child protection and vulnerable adult protection, either separately or as a combined course, as well as a new online e-Safety course.