Barnardo's to aid South Yorkshire Police over child protection

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A police force which faced criticism for its handling of child sexual exploitation has enlisted the help of children's charity Barnardo's.

The charity has provided four specialists to work with South Yorkshire Police.

They will work with children to "help prevent them being exploited or to escape further sexual exploitation".

In June the Home Affairs Select Committee said the force had "let down" victims of grooming.

Start Quote

If we are to prevent such terrible crimes happening in the first place and investigate those who do commit such offences, we need the support of partner agencies”

End Quote Det Supt Phil Etheridge South Yorkshire Police

It came after reports in The Times claimed agencies were aware of extensive and co-ordinated abuse of girls by men in Rotherham for which no one had been prosecuted.

And last month a woman who said she was groomed while in care in Rotherham called for the resignation of police officers and social workers.

'Devastates lives'

A review, commissioned by South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner, is now being carried out into the force's investigation of child abuse and grooming,

Det Supt Phil Etheridge said tackling child sexual exploitation "cannot be achieved by one agency alone".

"If we are to prevent such terrible crimes happening in the first place and investigate those who do commit such offences, we need the support of partner agencies."

The Barnardo's workers will be based in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.

Director for Barnardo's Yorkshire, Steve Oversby, said: "Child sexual exploitation devastates lives.

"It's vital that we do all we can to ensure victims are identified and given the help they need to move on from the abuse they have suffered.

"We're determined, along with our partners in South Yorkshire, to tackle this horrific crime and help those who have been affected to rebuild their lives."

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