Skip to main content

Child Sexual Exploitation: Support for Victims

Volume 705: debated on Tuesday 14 December 2021

Getting the right support at the right time is crucial for all victims, particularly children and young people. The Department has provided £150 million to victim support services this financial year, which includes support for children and young people. We are also consulting on a victims Bill so that we can make tangible improvements for all victims. That will include reviewing what more can be done to strengthen victim advocate roles, including those supporting children and young people; looking at joining up services better across agencies; and reviewing standards, guidance and frameworks.

We can provide full justice and protection to victims of child sexual exploitation in Keighley and across the wider Bradford district only if we fully understand the extent of those horrific crimes and, indeed, the complexities of how child grooming actually happens at a local level. The Minister will be well aware that I am calling on Bradford Council to instigate a full, Rotherham-style inquiry. I ask him to join me in my calls for that and to outline how we can support victims better locally.

My hon. Friend is a tireless advocate on behalf of his constituents in raising these most distressing matters. The Government believe that it is right for the authorities in individual towns and cities to commission local inquiries. It is crucial that answers are provided where failings have occurred, and that we work nationally and locally to improve services’ response to this horrendous crime. The Government welcome Bradford’s work to do that through commissioning and disseminating its recent review. The local authority and police must now do everything possible to understand the current threat and ensure that children at risk are safeguarded and offenders prosecuted.

I also just add that, at a national level, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse continues to investigate public bodies to ensure that they are doing everything that they should to protect children.