Once again I recommend to you the Family Education Trust Bulletin.
The latest Bulletin has an important article on failure to safeguard teenage girls in Rochdale. To refresh your memory, in Rochdale a gang preyed on under-age teenage girls and were convicted of sex trafficking on 8 May 2012; other offences included rape, trafficking girls for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. 47 girls were identified as victims of child sexual exploitation during the police investigation.
Drawing from the official report prepared on behalf of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, the Family Education Trust article highlights the way in which professionals had become complacent about underage sexual activity to the point that real risks were ignored. As the Report itself states:
‘The drive to reduce teenage pregnancy, whilst commendable in itself, is believed to have contributed to a culture whereby professionals may have become inured to early sexual activity in young teenagers. The culture from the top of organisations concerned with teenage pregnancy focused on meeting targets for the reduction of teenage conception and sexually transmitted diseases sometimes to the detriment of an alternative focus - the possibility that a young person has been or is at risk of harm and action other than clinical responses are required.’It is fascinating to compare the Family Education Trust article and the report from the BBC which manages to omit any mention of the problem of focussing on the reduction of pregnancy (i.e. on the provision of contraception and abortion) to the detriment of a proper focus on safeguarding.