Shropshire child sex exploitation reports rising

Reported cases of child sexual exploitation are rising in Shropshire, according to a council review.

Six or seven serious allegations are being reported in the county every month, police have said.

Thirty nine cases were referred to Shropshire Council's Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) panel in 2013-14, compared with 27 in 2012-13.

The news comes a year after the last of seven men were jailed for their part in a child sex ring in Telford.

West Mercia Police said it had 38 ongoing investigations across the force area and hoped they would lead to prosecutions.

'Talk to somebody'

Det Insp Pete Brophy said there was no evidence of exploitation in Shropshire on the scale of that seen in Rotherham, Telford or Derbyshire.

"That's not to say that child sexual exploitation is not happening on that scale, but it hasn't been identified," he said.

Shropshire Council set up the multi-agency CSE panel in December 2011.

In a new report, it said the authority had received 20 referrals since April alone, about half of which were reported by schools.

Councillor Ann Hartley, responsible for Children's Services at Shropshire Council, said the increase in referrals was in many ways "encouraging".

"It demonstrates people have got the confidence to come forward and talk to somebody," she said.

"The really important message we need to get out is that we will believe you and we will listen to you and we will act on your information."

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