Report Claims Child Sexual Exploitation Has Become 'Normal' In Areas Of Greater Manchester

Home Secretary Describes Local Authority Failings As ‘Unacceptable’

30.10.2014

A report into the sexual exploitation of children in Greater Manchester, which has been described as “alarming” by Home Secretary Theresa May, found that the abuse of children on some estates and streets in the region has become “normal”.

The inquiry and report, led by Stockport MP Ann Coffey, was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd following the recent abuse case in Rochdale, where nine men were jailed for grooming young girls.

She said: “My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case. This is a real and ongoing problem. I have been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm.

"This social norm has perhaps been fuelled by the increased sexualisation of children and young people and an explosion of explicit music videos and the normalisation of quasi-pornographic images.”

She explained that schoolgirls in Greater Manchester informed the inquiry that they were regularly approached by men and propositioned in the street. The report raised concerns for young people who have been reported missing in the region.

The report noted that One in five children and young people who go missing from home or care is at risk of serious harm, with "major concerns" about the links between children running away and the risks of child sexual exploitation.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "This is yet another disturbing report which highlights unacceptable failings by authorities at a local level to ensure the protection of children.

"The report's findings about the scale of child sexual exploitation and attitudes towards it are particularly alarming."

Expert Opinion
The findings of this inquiry, which indicate the sexual exploitation of children is so common in some areas it is becoming the social norm, are deeply worrying.

“While this report focuses on Greater Manchester, it is important to note that the sexual exploitation of children is not just limited to this area, or regions in the north of England. In our work we have represented victims of abuse from other areas and it is crucial we see a cultural shift and the realisation that this is a widespread issue.

“The first priority is to ensure young people who have been the victims of abuse are heard. They need to feel confident that their allegations will be taken seriously and those responsible will be held to account. These young people know that they are being abused and we must ensure that early signs are detected and acted upon. It is quite shocking how such widespread abuse has gone on unchecked, despite reports to the police or social services."
Tracey Storey, Partner