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Sex abuse inquiry to look back 30 years.

Byline: Report by Lisa O'Brien

TELFORD'S child sexual exploitation inquiry could focus on cases dating back to 1989 following a request from the survivors' committee.

Terms of reference for the inquiry have been discussed by the Telford and Wrekin Council CSE Inquiry Member Advisory Group.

A document put before the group suggested the inquiry should focus on a period from 1995 onwards, as the availability of documentation and the fact that practices may have changed would make it more difficult to examine cases from further back.

But 'Mandie' - a member of the survivors' committee - told the meeting that the committee wants the timeframe to focus on 1989 onwards.

She said: "They were quite adamant for it to be in line with the Children Act."

The Children Act 1989 allocates duties to local authorities, courts, parents, and other agencies in the UK, to ensure children are safeguarded and their welfare is promoted.

Sarah Jones, from legal firm Eversheds Sutherland - the commissioning body responsible for setting up the inquiry, said: "It was never our intention to exclude cases before 1995.

"What we are trying to do is be pragmatic about the work the inquiry faces.

"There are time and cost considerations." She said it was hoped efforts would be made to find documentation relating to any case, although there were concerns the volume of documentation could become vast.

However, later in the meeting she said there would be no issue with changing the date. It followed calls from members in the group that the request from the survivors' committee should be supported.

Proposals were also put forward to make minor alterations to some of the terms outlined.

It is proposed that the inquiry should examine the local taxi industry and taxi licensing, and the impact that has had on CSE, but there was a call to include the 'night-time economy'.

The terms said the inquiry would identify if there were any organisational and systemic failures, but Newport Councillor Tim Nelson suggested it should examine if there still are.

The document says the aims will include examining 'the nature, extent and patterns' of CSE in Telford and the response of third-party organisations to cases.

It will also examine the impact of CSE on victims and survivors, attitudes towards them and the 'history of changes made to practice, policy and/or legislation.

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Publication:Shropshire Star (Shropshire, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2019
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