County commits to preventing child sexual exploitation

PREVENTING child sexual exploitation from happening in West Sussex is ‘firmly on the radar’ of the public, professionals, and the county council following recent revelations in Rotherham.

An independent inquiry found at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in the Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013, with multiple agencies criticised for failing to deal with the problem.

At a West Sussex County Council meeting late last month, councillor Ashvin Patel asked what additional measures were being put in place to ensure ‘we will not have a repeat of the Rotherham tragedy in West Sussex’.

East Preston and Ferring councillor Peter Evans, the council’s cabinet member for children – start of life, said they had commissioned the West Sussex Children Safeguarding to look at their processes and they were picking up the recommendations to ‘close the gaps’.

He added: “It’s now firmly on the radar of both professionals and the public and this council and I think I speak on behalf of all 71 councillors when I say you are all fully behind all the initiatives that we are putting on.”

The council would be working ‘very closely’ with its partners, he said, and would ensure that ‘everything was covered’.

Mr Evans also explained there were historical cases coming forward, and that there were a number of complex cases in operation currently with police.