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Sexual Exploitation of Children: Organised Gangs

Volume 678: debated on Monday 13 July 2020

I thank

the hon. Lady for her a question and pay tribute to her for the work that she has done specifically on the whole issue of child sexual exploitation.

I am grateful that the Home Secretary takes this topic seriously. We in Rotherham are very fortunate because we have National Crime Agency to deal with past cases, but will she also look at cases across the country, the resources that police forces have there and the local authorities that have to step in and put the child protection and victim support in place, as there is not enough nationally?

The hon. Lady is right. It is fair to say that she and I go back a long way on this issue. I recall that she first came to see me on this point when I was in the Treasury many years ago. She knows that I have recently announced that the Home Office will be publishing a paper to help us better understand the characteristics associated with groups. I would welcome it if she were to work with me and to join our external reference group that I have established on this important area. She specifically raises issues about third-party organisations, and she mentioned some in her own constituency. I have met many survivors and sufferers with her on this issue. They have had a terrible time. They have also been failed by many aspects of the state and society. We can never allow that to happen again, which is why I am committed, not just through resourcing, but through the work that I have commissioned in the Department, which I know she will join me in and support us on, to make sure that no other aspect of the state, organisation, third party, or Government institution turns a blind eye and ignores the needs of individuals in the way that happened in her constituency.