England

Child sexual exploitation: 188 at risk

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Media captionSupport for the vulnerable children can include counselling and moving them to new homes

Agencies in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire are supporting 188 children because they are at risk of sexual exploitation.

They are children who have either been sexually exploited or show "warning signs" of being at risk.

Police, local authorities and health services have been working together to share information about children.

Officers can also use "abduction notices" to arrest men if they are found with children.

Andy Murray, Ch Supt of Thames Valley Police, said before the Bullfinch inquiry there had been failed attempts at prosecutions in Oxford.

He said: "We kind of thought it's too difficult to get these children into court to give evidence.

"Now we know nothing is too difficult, it has to be a priority.

"And we will continue to investigate these offences and make sure children are as safe as possible in the Thames Valley region."

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Seven members of a sex grooming ring were convicted of abusing children from Oxford in May 2013

In Oxfordshire, 70 children are being supported by the Kingfisher team, which was set up jointly by Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Valley Police, following cases of child sexual exploitation in the county.

In Buckinghamshire 63 children are being helped, while in Wiltshire 53 minors are receiving support.

Support for the vulnerable children can include counselling and moving those at risk into new homes.

Children can contact the agencies directly or information can be passed on by concerned individuals such as teachers.

Anthony Stansfield, the police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: "I think we are at last getting a very considerable grip on it and this is why you are seeing the cases coming up.

"And I've moved more police officers into the role of looking at this and unfortunately we are turning up some unpleasant stones at the moment."

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