Committee recommends raft of measures to prevent CSE in Buckinghamshire

  |  Published: Nov 3rd 2015

A number of recommendations which aim to strengthen the preventative work already taking place on child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Buckinghamshire have been agreed in a report published today (3 November) by the Children's Social Care and Learning Select Committee.

The Committee, a cross-party group of councillors, produced the report following a lengthy review of current practices across all organisations which work with children and young people.

The decision to carry out the review was made following the publication of serious case reviews into events in Oxford and Rotherham.

Although much work to address the knowledge gap around CSE is already taking place in Bucks through the Safeguarding Children Board's 'R U Wise2 It?' campaign, committee members decided the focus of their inquiry would be on the prevention of CSE in Buckinghamshire.

It is also worth noting that the review was initiated while Thames Valley Police were carrying out Operation Articulate in Buckinghamshire - which resulted in the conviction of six men mainly from Aylesbury, for offences including multiple rape of a child under 13 and child prostitution.

During the course of the inquiry, committee members heard from a spectrum of professionals engaged in the fight against exploitation and from those directly affected by CSE, including a parent of a victim and many victims themselves.

They also recognised the valuable contribution made by Barnardos R U Safe to the protection of children and young people in the County.

Key findings from the report include the importance of helping secondary school children to become more risk aware and building resilience in children, particularly from an early age to protect them from all forms of exploitation. Members considered this, their top priority for those working with children particularly the County Council, Buckinghamshire Learning Trust and schools.

The report notes that children who are frequently absent from school  - are often those at the highest risk of CSE, and need to be quickly identified and provided with persistent offers of information, advice and guidance from parents and professionals. 

In addition, members recommend that the County Council ensures that the names of looked after children - both those placed in and out of county are shared with sexual health providers on a regular basis.

Other measures include the roll-out of more targeted awareness raising schemes across Bucks, such as Thames Valley Police Hotel Watch - an initiative already successful in High Wycombe, and with the 'night-time economy' which includes taxi drivers, takeaways, pubs and nightclubs.  It also recommends for all of Buckinghamshire's commissioned service providers to be aware of how to spot and address CSE.

Members acknowledge that further research is needed to understand how younger children of primary school age can be assisted in developing the resilience they need to protect against CSE, and other forms of exploitation, such as radicalisation, and CSE involving boys, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Val Letheren, Chairman of the Select Committee said: “Child sexual exploitation is something we should all be more aware of now, particularly following the recent number of high-profile cases across the country, including in Buckinghamshire.

"Although I found this to be the most difficult inquiry I've ever chaired, it was without a doubt the most important, and this report is timely and hugely important in shaping the County's response to safeguarding young people from this appalling crime, and in tackling the people who destroy young lives.

“It was very reassuring to see the progress that has already being made by organisations across the county to better address CSE, but there is always more that can be done.

"I would like to extend sincere thanks to those that have taken the time to add their contribution to our inquiry, particularly to the Buckinghamshire parent and children affected by CSE.

"I hope that the Safeguarding board and Cabinet Members will approve of our recommendations and that the significant work the committee have undertaken during this inquiry, results in actual change on the ground, to the benefit of children in Buckinghamshire.”

The report and recommendations will be discussed by the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board in November and the County Council’s Cabinet in January 2016. To read the report in full visit

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