MPs to discuss child sexual exploitation in Bradford during debate next month

MPs will discuss child sexual exploitation in Bradford during a debate in Parliament next month.

An independent review, published by the Bradford Partnership in July, states the response of some agencies in the district has improved, but it is “not yet good enough in all cases” and “some children remain unprotected while some perpetrators remain unknown and unchallenged” (stock image)

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, secured the debate on October 18 after Bradford Council decided it will not order an inquiry to determine the scale of child sexual exploitation in the district.

“This is a massive issue and I am deeply frustrated as there seems to be a lack of seriousness being taken by those in positions of responsibility,” he said.

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The Conservative MP has been calling for a thorough investigation similar to the one led by Professor Alexis Jay in Rotherham in 2014, but Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said an inquiry “would not be of additional value”.

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley

An independent review, which looked into the sexual abuse suffered by five children in Bradford over 17 years and the response of the council, police and other agencies, was published by the Bradford Partnership in July.

The report states the response of some agencies has improved, but it is “not yet good enough in all cases” and “some children remain unprotected while some perpetrators remain unknown and unchallenged”.

Mr Moore said: “The problem is nobody can tell me or anybody else, because they don't know, the scale on which child sexual exploitation has been going on over the last 20 years in the Bradford district.

“No one has identified that, but that is what the Rotherham review did.

“It also says, in black and white, there are still children out there at risk and there is an unknown quantity of perpetrators out there that also remain unchallenged.

“That's pretty shocking and if no one knows the scale of which the problem has existed, no one is then able to really implement true learning on the back of it.”

Councillor Hinchcliffe has previously said the council has been “consistently open and transparent” about its work on child sexual exploitation and referred itself to the national inquiry on the issue.

Jane Booth, chair of the Bradford Partnership, said: “The independent thematic review into child sexual exploitation was very clear – everyone’s understanding of this crime has changed substantially in the last 20 years both nationally and in Bradford.

"We publish openly detailed information from partners in our district, including the police, on the numbers of children at risk of child sexual exploitation so that plans can be put in place to keep those children safe and I’d urge Mr Moore to read these reports. We’re more than happy to discuss these plans with him.”

Alison Lowe, deputy mayor of West Yorkshire, said she does not support Mr Moore's calls for an inquiry, when she appeared on the BBC show Politics North yesterday.

She said: “Bradford has done an extensive investigation. It was independent. It was not a pretty investigation, it was quite hard hitting and it came out with some recommendations for change and it also said people are still at risk today.

“They also put themselves forward to the national independent review (of child sexual exploitation) and asked if they could be subject to further review.

“The review process said no to Bradford because they clearly didn’t feel there was any value to be gained from carrying on that investigation into Bradford.”

Professor Jay’s report, published in 2014 after Rotherham Council established an inquiry, said an estimated 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 and the “collective failures of political and officer leadership were blatant”.

It prompted the National Crime Agency to launch an investigation – called Operation Stovewood – Rotherham into child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013.