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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual exploitation by organised networks Investigation Report

Contents

J.5: Partnership with schools and health services

22. In Durham, a 2017 CQC report found strengths in joint working by sexual health services, school nursing and substance misuse services, all of which were commissioned by Durham County Council. It also identified concerns about urgent care centres, where young people being harmed by sexual exploitation may not be identified.[1] Data for March to September 2019 showed that health and education did not share many information reports about child exploitation, accounting for just 5 percent of the 649 reports submitted to ERASE.[2] While there was some variability, there was positive involvement of schools, health services and other agencies in the evidence about the Durham case study children. For example, the importance of suitable education for CS-A29 was recognised. After some delay, a personal education plan was put in place. A specialist education day placement was arranged and she made good progress educationally and socially. Her school attendance improved and episodes of going missing reduced.[3]

23. In Swansea, Evolve (youth services), Choices (the youth drugs service), the child’s school and the school nurse were all appropriately involved in multi-agency work about CS-A24. The school took account of her disability and offered practical solutions to prevent her going missing from school.[4]

24. The evidence from several of the case study areas showing a lack of access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was a significant concern. This is an issue to which the Inquiry will return in its final report. We are informed that CAMHS is taking steps to improve capacity and flexibility.

25. The most recent Ofsted inspection (May 2017) of Warwickshire noted delays in accessing CAMHS.[5]

26. Ms Vikki McKenna, Senior Service Coordinator at Catch22 in St Helens, raised concerns about delays for the CAMHS service.[6] These concerns were echoed by the CQC, which in January 2018 noted that health services are fragmented and that children who are in care are not being fully supported to access services to meet their mental health needs.[7]

27. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets considered that good progress had been made on engagement with health and education partners.[8] The Metropolitan Police Service recognised that further work needs to be done to improve links with health services.[9]

28. The Bristol local safeguarding partnership has identified a number of good practice initiatives relating to partnership working with health providers, including:

  • sexual health clinics for sexual exploitation victims;
  • a dedicated CAMHS nurse in the BASE project to ensure sexual exploitation victims receive quick and flexible access to mental health services; and
  • a service for 18 to 25-year-olds who are victims of sexual exploitation or are recovering from child sexual exploitation.[10]
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