Child sexual abuse: Ann Coffey calls for register of children who often miss school

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Media captionAnn Coffey is calling for the creation of a list of children who are regularly not at school

More than 14,000 children from Greater Manchester who frequently miss school may be at an increased risk of sexual exploitation, an MP has warned.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey is calling for the creation of a list of children who are regularly not at school.

It could be used by children's services and police to identify those at risk.

The government said 9,135 and 4,955 children respectively were persistently absent from secondary and primary schools in Greater Manchester in 2012.

Ms Coffey said: "It's really important that local authorities and schools work together to identify if any of those children, while they are missing, are at risk of coming to harm, including sexual exploitation."

She said central "persistent absence lists" could be cross-referenced by police, education welfare officers and children's services to spot patterns of local child sexual exploitation.

The idea would mean "we can identify children who are at risk and intervene early on in their lives to prevent them actually coming to harm," she added.

In November, Ofsted inspected eight local authorities that had issues with child sexual exploitation and found only one had kept an absence record.

"The fact that there was such as list made it possible to combine and analyse data in order to identify trends and patterns and explore possible links to child sexual exploitation or gang related activity," the report said.

In October, Ms Coffey said exploitation was an "ongoing problem" in a report commissioned by Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tony Lloyd.

It assessed improvements in protecting youngsters after nine men were jailed in 2012 for running a child sexual abuse ring in Heywood and Rochdale.

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