Young people still at risk of grooming

Child sex exploitation - still a problem in the borough (pic posed by models)
Child sex exploitation - still a problem in the borough (pic posed by models)

WIGAN still has countless children who are currently being groomed, according to a charity.

Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace) believe thousands of young people across the country are affected and police forces lack skills to deal with such abuse.

But a plan of action was recently launched to tackle the borough’s growing problem of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

This comes after it was revealed that 21 children in Wigan were identified as at risk of CSE as of September 2014.

Seven of these young people were placed in the “high risk” category and 14 in the medium. CSE is usually defined when a child or young person is manipulated by an elder into sex following a process of grooming.

This can involve gifts being given and being distanced from parents or guardians.

And cases tend not to be reported to the authorities due to the young people being shamed or intimidated out of reporting the crime.

Previously, Coun Joanne Platt, cabinet member for children and young people at Wigan Council, said: “We’ve been working really hard to raise awareness of CSE this year, with campaigns like the more you know the more you see’ raising the profile of the issue locally.

“Despite that, we know we have to do more to ensure we’re protecting our children and young people from exploitation and keeping them safe.

“I’m confident that this action plan will contribute towards achieving that ambition.”

A report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham found at least 1,400 children were abused over two decades.

The new 19-point action plan aims to prevent high profile cases like Rotherham occurring here in the borough by drawing on a number of recommendations made by Alexis Jay’s inquiry and Anne Coffey’s review.

The key recommendations include identifying and disrupting areas where CSE activity is most likely to occur.

This will be helped by mapping out hotspots in the borough which will in turn ensure perpetrators are brought to justice and public awareness and education around CSE will be improved by working closely with schools and communities.