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Child Sexual Exploitation

Volume 643: debated on Thursday 21 June 2018

4. What steps the CPS is taking to improve the rate of prosecution of people responsible for child sexual exploitation. (905993)

Tackling child sexual exploitation is a priority for the CPS. Specialist lawyers with bespoke training continue to work closely with the police in order to bring stronger cases, and we prosecute those responsible for the sexual exploitation of children where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.

The Solicitor General will be aware of a horrific case I have been raising in this place of a 13-year-old victim of a grooming gang. Multiple perpetrators were arrested but were not charged. Will he confirm it is his Department that is reviewing the case? When does he expect to be able to comment on it?

I commend my hon. Friend for her commitment to this vital issue, not just for her constituents but for the country at large. As she knows, it is an extremely complex and sensitive case. The CPS is looking at the matter, and the Attorney General and I are the Ministers who answer for that independent organisation. The CPS is taking the time to investigate the case fully, and then the Home Office will respond.

I know my hon. Friend the Member for Telford (Lucy Allan) has been in touch with the Home Office and is due to meet my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, as soon as possible. I am sure that constructive engagement will continue.

The Spicer report on the sexual exploitation of girls and young women in Newcastle made a number of recommendations for the Solicitor General’s Department. The report has yet to receive a response, particularly one that recognises the plight of young women. In my Adjournment debate last week, the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins) committed to a response. Will the Solicitor General do the same?