Sexual Exploitation of Children: Organised Gangs

Home Department – in the House of Commons on 13th July 2020.

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Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee

What progress she has made on preventing the sexual exploitation of children by organised gangs.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department

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.

Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee

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?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department

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.