Eighty children in Brent identified as ‘at risk of sexual exploitation’

The report was presented to Brent councils scrutiny committee

The report was presented to Brent councils scrutiny committee - Credit: Archant

Eighty children in Brent have been referred to a specialist panel after being identified at serious risk of sexual exploitation in the past two years, a child protection report has revealed.

A report presented to Brent council’s scrutiny committee this month shows measures introduced in the wake of the Rotherham and Oxford child sex scandals have placed 80 children under Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) review since November 2013.

Children are referred to the Multi Agency Sexual Exploitation (MASE) board if they are deemed vulnerable to situations and relationships in which they are groomed or trafficked for sexual activity with offers of food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts or money.

The report by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) also details how police, social services and associated agencies have launched a crackdown on child sexual exploitation in the past year, including a raid on a suspected exploitation ‘hot spot’ and greater monitoring of the risk of sex abuse to children involved in 19 Brent-based gangs formally identified by the Home Office.

The Brent Local Safeguarding Children’s Board report also quotes a study showing disabled children are 3.1 times more likely to be sexually exploited in addition to highlighting how CSE has become a key priority for child protection teams in Brent alongside anti-radicalization programmes.

The report also details how domestic abuse remains a “significant problem” in the borough, with Brent having the 10th highest number of domestic offences by volume out of 32 London boroughs.

It goes on to state: “The impact on children and young people who live in families where domestic abuse takes place cannot be underestimated.”

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Last year 317 children in the borough were deemed sufficiently at risk of emotional or physical harm to be referred to a multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC), with Brent reviewing 35 cases per month, taking it well above the London average of 22.

The report’s data also reveals 28.8 per cent of 0-19 year olds in the borough were living below the poverty line in 2014-2015.

Mike Howard, independent chair of Brent Local Safeguarding Children Board, said:

“Sexual exploitation of children and young people - known as CSE - is a top priority for Brent LSCB.

“It is dealt with by each agency playing its part in disrupting the activities of perpetrators and arresting them, protecting and supporting those who may be at risk or have experienced CSE, and preventing it by informing residents about the signs that a young person may be experiencing CSE.

“However, there is still more to do - in particular in making sure that everyone, in particular parents, know the signs of CSE and I would urge anyone who is at all worried to look at the information about the signs of CSE on our website at www.brentlscb.org.uk.”

If you think a young person is at risk to contact Brent’s Family Front Door service on 020 8937 4300 or email family.frontdoor@brent.gcsx.gov.uk