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Child Protection

Volume 527: debated on Monday 9 May 2011

11. What progress the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has made in its investigation into the grooming of vulnerable teenage girls for sex. (54327)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this issue. Good progress has been made since CEOP commissioned its thematic assessment of localised grooming in January. A range of responses has been received from a variety of sources, including police forces, charities and local safeguarding children boards. Analysis of the data is ongoing and the final report is expected to be published in June.

I thank the Home Secretary for her answer. Whether or not CEOP forms a discrete part of the new national crime agency, what steps will be taken to work with mosques and Asian communities to make this organised exploitation of young girls culturally unacceptable?

My hon. Friend’s question enables me to say how strongly we support CEOP’s work. We want it to be a lead law enforcement body in protecting children nationally, so I am pleased to announce that it will form part of the new national crime agency and will continue to build on the work it is doing. In examining the issue of grooming, it is important to wait for CEOP’s thematic report, see the extent of this problem and, obviously, take CEOP’s advice on any action that needs to be taken in relation to particular communities, but I do not think we should see this as an issue that relates only to particular communities.

I thank the hon. Lady for raising this issue. I cannot give her an exact date, but fairly shortly we will be launching a consultation exercise in response to issues that have arisen concerning the sex offenders register. The question of online identities was raised in this House when I made the statement on the response to the F and Thomson case, and we are taking it on board, so I ask her to wait for that consultation.