The Department for Education (“DfE”) has released statistics concerning the number of children subjected to sexual grooming in England in 2019.

The statistics show that near 19,000 children who may have been sexually exploited were known to local authorities throughout the last year and there are concerns that the number is greater still. In 2013, this was closer to 3,300. Grooming was first made an assessment factor to be considered when placing children in local authority care in 2017 when 20,000 children were referred to social care.

Following the cases and public inquiries into the Rotherham and Rochdale grooming gangs, the government stated that action would be taken to prevent child sexual exploitation. However, the Queen’s speech, which outlined the Prime Minister’s agenda, failed to indicate that there will be legislative action in this regard.

Farleys Solicitors have represented and still continue to represent the ever increasing number of victims that are coming forward in cases across Rotherham, Rochdale, Liverpool, Newcastle, Oxford, Bristol and many more towns.

According to the DfE, 624 children were recorded as grooming victims in Lancashire, 490 in Birmingham, 447 in Surrey, 447 in Bradford and 409 n Gloucestershire.

Grooming gangs typically use coercive or manipulative techniques, often involving money, car rides, alcohol and drugs to force children to perform sexual activities. The victims are often made to feel as though they are in a relationship with the abuser. Groomers may also traffic children and force them into sexual acts with others.

Grooming can be perpetrated by older individuals or by the victim’s peers.

Mr Simon Bailey, of The National Police Chief’s Council, has stated that “More must be done to stop abuse happening in the first place,” and “internet and social media companies need to…stop children accessing harmful content and prevent abuse on their platforms”.

£7 million has been ring-fenced by the Home Office to provide support for child sex abuse survivors for 2019-2020.

The Home Office has supported reviews of child sex abuse over the past few years through the establishment of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (“IICSA”). The abuse team at Farleys have represented participants to the Nottinghamshire Investigation and have appeared before the IICSA to give evidence on the claims process generally and the operation of the CICA.

A spokesperson for the Home Office stated that the IICSA “is investigating institutional responses to child sexual exploitation by organised criminal networks with public hearings set for the spring of 2020.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of abuse, whilst we appreciate that it is often difficult to talk about what has happened, our team is experienced and dedicated to speaking with you in the strictest of confidence. You can call us on 0330 134 6430 or email us here.