Counsillor Andrew Wallis

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Cornwall’s police and council tackling child sexual exploitation in wake of Rotherham abuse

Published October 15, 2014 by misty534


AGENCIES in Cornwall are working to tackle child sexual exploitation in the wake of the scandal in Rotherham which has hit the headlines in recent weeks.

Authorities in Rotherham were criticised in an independent report for failing to protect 1,400 children aged between 11 and 16 who were groomed and abused by gangs.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Andrew Wallis, told fellow members last month that work was being done to identify and prevent child sexual exploitation (CSE).

He said: “I can give assurances that we are doing everything we can within our powers, in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, to detect possible child sexual exploitation and to take robust action where there is evidence of it.

“While I cannot give total assurances that child sexual exploitation does not exist in Cornwall, I can give total assurances that if such abuse came to light, we would take immediate and robust action in conjunction with out police partners. We would not seek to deny or minimise it, as appears was the case in Rotherham. We would not stand by and do nothing as appears to have been the case in Rotherham.”

Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg has also asked the police to review its handling of CSE cases.

A spokesman for Mr Hogg said: “Until we have completed internal work we must assume that the risk exists that there could be a ‘Rotherham’ here, as there could be anywhere.

“Mr Hogg has asked Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer to examine our response to these issues and to provide him with assurance.”

He added: “Mr Hogg is keen to encourage all members of the public and any group to report all incidents of this nature for full investigation.”

He said Mr Hogg expected to see Mr Sawyer’s report this month.

Simon Carpenter, chief executive of the Truro-based Children Linked to and Experiencing Abusive Relationships charity, which was recently awarded government funding through a bid by Mr Hogg, said: “We will use the funding to support all our work but most importantly, in the current climate, the money will support our service against children’s sexual exploitation which is going to be very new to Cornwall but also I think it’s going to bring all sorts of things out into the open.”