10.8 The examples of poor practice and negative attitudes were far more prevalent. These included:
a) Awareness of CSE and interest in it were not widespread. Effective interventions were lacking;
b) Some professionals were working as individuals rather than seeking inter-agency solutions
c) Information was not being shared with the Police, and Strategy meetings were not being called by children’s social care;
d) The ‘mapping exercise’ devised by Risky Business that cross-referenced a large amount of data on victims and perpetrators was not well received by the Police. No charges were brought against alleged perpetrators, nor was any investigation undertaken.
e) The Police had responded reluctantly to missing person reports, as a ‘waste of time’. Some young women had been threatened with arrest for wasting police time;
f) The young women concerned were often seen by the Police as being deviant or promiscuous. The adult men with whom they were found were not questioned;
g) A database was developed to provide consistent recording of CSE-related information across agencies. Owing to a dispute between these agencies, it was not used;
h) Possibly as a result of their experience, parents were often not reporting a missing child since they saw it as a waste of time;
i) Professionals were reluctant to be named as a source of information in prosecution, fearing for their safety. Some Police said that if young people were not prepared to help themselves by making complaints against their abusers and giving evidence, they would take no further action on the case;
j) Despite ACPC procedures, there was no consistent way of addressing the issue of CSE. Many professionals were unaware of it; and
k) Some professionals were cautious about working together and sharing information. Some feared an increase in workload. Some, especially the Police, made personal judgements about the young women involved.
10.9 According to the researcher, attempts to raise many of the concerns described above with senior personnel were met with defensiveness and hostility.
10.10 The researcher gave the Inquiry an account of her mounting frustration and concern at the lack of action to pursue the perpetrators, despite monthly meetings with the Police at which the project provided intelligence about the men concerned. She also had concerns regarding the lack of action taken to protect young people at risk and was conscious that the end of the pilot was in sight, with no positive progress in these areas. There were continuing incidents of serious abuse being perpetrated against vulnerable children.
*10.5 The report was not dated but we understand that it was written in 2002