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Greater Manchester child sex abuse risk levels revealed

Published August 6, 2013 by misty534

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More than 400 children are considered at risk of sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester, council figures have revealed.

The area’s 10 councils list 436 children as being at risk, 165 of whom are subject to police investigations.

It is the first time such figures have been made available.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey said it was “only by gathering this information that we can map out the extent” of the issue.

Ms Coffey, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, said collation would allow authorities to “develop the kind of interventions that we need to prevent these children being exploited”.

‘Safe and protected’

Children at risk by authority

The number of children currently at risk of being sexually exploited as listed by each Greater Manchester authority:

  • Bolton – 32
  • Bury – 37
  • Manchester – 100
  • Oldham – 40
  • Rochdale – 54
  • Salford – 29
  • Stockport – 23
  • Trafford – 52
  • Tameside – 31
  • Wigan – 38

 

The publishing of the figures, which were obtained by BBC Radio Manchester, follows a number of convictions across the country, including that of nine men in May 2012 who ran a child sex exploitation ring in Rochdale.

The case led to a review of child protection services in the town.

Ms Coffey said there was now a “far greater awareness among agencies about child sex exploitation, but certainly what we were are still not managing to do is communicate with children at an earlier stage about what is happening to them”.

She said that it was not just the job of agencies and local authorities to protect children, it was also the responsibility of the wider public.

“What happens to children is all our business and we all need to be responsible for ensuring that the children in our community are safe and protected,” she said.

‘Continually reviewed’

Alison Worsley of the children’s charity Barnardo’s said it was “hard to get these figures and understand this problem” as it was often “hidden”.

“Strange as it may seem, young people may not even realise that they are being exploited,” she said.

She added that the charity welcomed the figures and the work that Greater Manchester Police was doing in “actively looking to prevent this problem”.

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said the issue had become one of the force’s “top priorities, reflected in the multi-agency teams now in place in Rochdale, Manchester, Salford, Tameside, Stockport and Oldham”.

She said the success of the teams in those areas meant the force was “planning to roll them out” across the rest of Greater Manchester.

She added that while there were 165 young people considered at direct risk, all the cases were “continually reviewed and any that meet the police threshold for a potential criminal investigation will be picked up by detectives”.

 

BBC news

Ex-teacher faces 47 charges of historical sexual abuse

Published July 15, 2013 by misty534

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A man has been charged following an investigation into historical sexual abuse at a school in Trafford, Greater Manchester.

Alan Morris, 63, of Hale has been charged with 47 offences.

The charges are for offences alleged to have taken place between 1972 and 1991 and involve 29 boys aged between 11 and 17 during their time at St Ambrose RC School in Hale Barns.

Morris was a teacher at the school at the time.

He has been charged with 41 counts of indecent assault, one count of outraging public decency and five counts of inciting gross indecency.

Morris is due to appear at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court on 25 July, 2013.

 

ITV news

Tackling child sex abuse ‘priority’

Published May 15, 2013 by misty534

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Tackling child sexual exploitation is now a bigger priority than gun crime for Greater Manchester Police, a conference has heard.

 

Assistant Chief Constable of the force, Steve Heywood, said it was the force’s “number one priority” and more convictions would follow as a result.

In the wake of the Rochdale abuse probe which led to the jailing of nine men last May, the force set up a public protection division of 550 officers and staff who are partly dedicated to child protection.

Speaking to delegates from local authorities across Greater Manchester, he said: “Our number one priority at the moment is CSE (child sexual exploitation).

“It is now ahead of gun crime.

“Expect a lot more convictions.

“I have got more detectives working on CSE than I have on gun crime.

“Now for a place like Manchester, as with any conurbation where there is a level of violence and organised criminality, that is quite a statement.

“With that level of investment in resources will come a lot more convictions.”

He explained that a multi-agency approach helped eradicate the city’s image of “Gunchester”, created by a high number of murders and weapons on the streets in the 1990s.

A similar tactic was needed in a Greater Manchester-wide response to CSE, he said.

“The difficulty for us was that some of those communities accepted gun crime as the norm,” Mr Heywood said.

“It was not until those communities had decided ‘We have had enough’ that we could start to understand from the policing perspective what our role was and I think the same here around CSE.

“I think the communities are now probably (saying) ‘Do you know what, we have enough with CSE as well’ and now we can start to do something about it.

“Our learning from a policing perspective was we could not solve this (gun crime) alone.

“You can’t solve gun crime by just throwing loads of yellow jackets into some of our inner city streets and expect it all to go away.

“It doesn’t work like that.”

He said GMP went on to understand that “a piecemeal approach” did not work and that a clear strategy could not be put into place until other agencies came in and worked together to tackle the gun problem.

He added though that CSE was “not just a Greater Manchester issue”.

“This is a UK and international issue, and we have to understand that,” he said. “We are not on our own here.”

Mr Heywood was speaking at the conference in Middleton organised by Rochdale Borough Council and its safeguarding children board to look at the lessons learned in the borough in the last year and to shape a Greater Manchester-wide approach to CSE.

Nine Asian men received jail sentences of between four and 19 years last May at Liverpool Crown Court for offences which happened in and around the town in 2008 and 2009.

Five girls, aged between 13 and 15, were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex but there were times when violence was used.

Police said the victims were from “chaotic” backgrounds and as many as 50 girls could have been preyed on by the gang.

A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 and both the police and Crown Prosecution Service were forced to apologise for their failings.

Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale council, said all Greater Manchester authorities had agreed to proposals to support a central data and intelligence sharing system.

He said that watching and listening to the coverage of the convictions for child sexual exploitation in Oxford had made him “more determined to make sure we put all our efforts into this particular agenda”.

“All of us know that the sexual exploitation of children is an appalling crime,” he said.

“It is carried out by the worst kind of criminals. Unfortunately we can’t stamp out the vile instincts of the people who carry out these awful acts but we can make sure our own house is in order.

“We can make sure that the right systems are in place and and adopt an approach that will reassure parents in Greater Manchester that we are doing everything we can to protect children.”

An independent internal review into how the council responded to the allegations which led to last year’s court case is due to be published in the coming weeks.

A serious case review on the matter is scheduled to report back in September, while reports are also awaited from the Commons Home Affairs committee on localised child grooming and from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into Greater Manchester Police’s 2008 investigation.

 

St Helens, the reporter