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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual exploitation by organised networks Investigation Report

Contents

E.4: Ensuring children’s voices are heard

24. There was some evidence that institutions were not systematically gathering and taking account of the views of children.

25. A multi-agency audit of eight child sexual exploitation cases in St Helens, conducted in October 2019, identified that there was evidence that the views of the child had been taken into account in 87.5 percent of cases but that the views were not always reflective of, or focussing on, child sexual exploitation concerns.[1]

26. In October 2018, HMICFRS found that in the Metropolitan Police Service (which serves Tower Hamlets):

officers and staff do not always speak to children. As a result, children’s views and disclosures of abuse or neglect are not always appropriately pursued”.[2]

Commander Sue Williams confirmed that addressing the inspectors’ findings was “work in progress”.[3] She described some of the barriers to achieving this as being the volume of recruits coming through the force and the level of experience of some officers.[4]

27. More positively, the National Working Group (NWG) Child Sexual Exploitation Assessment Tool, used in Warwickshire, has a standard field to record the wishes of the child. This is completed with the child’s account during the course of the assessment.[5]

References

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