Child sex abuse inquiry opens Monday to test how Tower Hamlets and 5 other authorities cope

Tower Hamlets and five other local authorities around the country coming under scrutiny into how the

Tower Hamlets and five other local authorities around the country coming under scrutiny into how they cope with child sex abuse cases. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

A public investigation into child sexual exploitation by organised networks in east London and elsewhere is being held to deal with the “urgent problem of grooming and sexual abuse”.

Hearings are being held by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse looking into how local authorities like Tower Hamlets respond which open from Monday, September 21, and run for two weeks till October 2.

They are analysing the current extent of abuse as well as institutional responses, selecting Tower Hamlets and five other local authority areas to be examined in the Midlands, West Country, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North East.

Evidence is being heard from victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and representatives of the Met and other police forces, local authorities, government departments and charities.

“It’s clear that grooming and sexual abuse of children is an urgent problem across the country,” Victims and Survivors Consultative panel member Nujoji Calvocoressi said.

“This hugely important investigation will examine the current strategies in places like Tower Hamlets to prevent this type of child sexual exploitation and see what more can be done in future.”

The investigation focuses on the six separate local authority areas of Tower Hamlets, St Helens in Lancashire, Swansea in South Wales, Durham in the North East, Bristol in the West and Warwickshire in the Midlands, chosen because they represent a range of sizes, demographics and institutional practices.

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The hearings assess the extent to which safeguarding services like Tower Hamlets and others have learned lessons from recent high profile cases such as Oxford, Rotherham and Rochdale.

The hearings are online from 10.30am to 4.15pm each day, streamed live on the independent inquiry’s Child Sexual Abuse website, with transcripts available a few hours after.