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Injunction to protect Cornish teen from sexual exploitation

Injunction to protect Cornish teen from sexual exploitation

Published by Emma Carton at 3:42pm 13th September 2019. (Updated at 4:59pm 13th September 2019)

Six men have been banned from making contact with a vulnerable teenager from Cornwall.

The High Court, sitting in Truro, has issued an injunction to protect the youngster from sexual exploitation.

Police and the council launched an investigation after the vulnerable person's family asked for help.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been moved to a safe place and is being offered support.

"We will not stand by and allow people to treat children like this in Cornwall. 

"Applying for these High Court injunctions shows how we are using the full range of powers available in law to hold people who abuse children to account, and to stop them from abusing other children.

"Handling cases like this takes time. There are often no easy solutions. To take pre-emptive action without the consent of the child can be counter-productive and cause the child to go missing, pushing them further under the control of the perpetrators, and increasing risk of harm.  

"In cases like this, we are working with young people who may not feel able to tell us what is happening to them, or who may not see themselves as a victim as a result of being groomed by abusers. 

"Grooming is like brainwashing. It takes time to work with young people to build up trust".

Independent Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Partnership, John Clements

How are cases like these being tackled in Cornwall?

Cornwall Council is one of the first local authorities to be seeking High Court injunctions to prevent and disrupt exploitation, and is making increasing use of these orders. 

Officials say there was excellent joint working with the police who prioritised their resources to find the victim when they were missing, and used their powers to remove them from dangerous situations and return them to safety. 

This included making arrests, considering warning notices, and criminal investigations.

"Cornwall is a safe place to live and it is difficult to think about this type of abuse happening in our communities. 

"Any young person can be targeted for exploitation, and both girls and boys can be victims. 

"We need to be vigilant for the symptoms of exploitation and we are taking robust action to prevent it. 

"This sends a very clear message to people who would try and exploit children: we know what you are up to, and we will come after you to protect children and young people across Cornwall".

Independent Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Partnership, John Clements

What can I do if I'm worried about a child's safety?

If you have concerns about the welfare or safety of a child please contact the Multi Agency Referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116. 

The MARU provides advice and guidance to parents and professionals about the wide range of services available to children and families in Cornwall.

Information for young people and families about exploitation, and spotting the signs, is available on the Barnardos website.

Information about how agencies in Cornwall are preventing and disrupting Child Sexual Exploitation is available on the Our Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

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