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Exploitation of children by gangs

20 October 2011

The government has launched a two year inquiry into the exploitation of children by gangs following a report by Bedfordshire University. Current data, based on limited reporting, indicates that 10,000 children may be affected and that children in local authority care are four times as likely to experience sexual exploitation as those who are not.

The inquiry will be conducted by The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, exercising its powers under the 2004 Children’s Act to investigate the scale of the problem. Local authorities and the judiciary will be forced to provide information about child exploitation for the first time. One of the key issues seems to be that less than half of Local Safeguarding Children Boards collect data on exploitation and three quarters of Councils are said to have failed to put in place the 2009 government guidance to protect children from exploitation.

No doubt both of these concerns will be covered when the government sets out its strategy for dealing with the problem. An interim report is due in July 2012 and is likely to give more detail on the full extent of the problem.

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