Child sexual exploitation to be discussed in-depth by Hertfordshire County Council
- Credit: Archant
The problems posed by child grooming and sexual exploitation will be discussed in-depth at a special topic board meeting next year, Herts County Council has decided.
Councillors will meet in March to discuss child sexual exploitation and grooming ‘in its broadest possible sense’.
This will cover everything from sexting to trafficking, highlighting problems which have arisen in the county and how they are being dealt with.
The announcement was made at an annual child safe guarding meeting which took place on Thursday.
A report posted online before the meeting by the county council revealed information from a report into grooming by the police HALO team, who tackle child sexual exploitation.
Figures from Herts police showed that 140 referrals regarding on-street grooming were made to police across the county between April 2013 and August 2014.
Of these, 12 high risk victims were then referred on to SEARCH, a multi-agency support group working with Herts police. Stevenage was labelled ‘at threat’ of grooming and had the third highest referral rate of victims.
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Det Con Stuart Orton from Herts police said it was not thought that gangs were operating in the county and there was no sign of girls being trafficked between towns.
He also said that officers were already working with a group of female victims in Stevenage.
Phil Picton, who chairs the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “I would also like to reassure everyone that there is currently no evidence of any kind of endemic, organised child sexual exploitation in Hertfordshire but we continue to remain vigilant and would ask the community to be our eyes and ears and report any concerns.”