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Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens is today praising the work of the police and partners in the prosecution of 13 men for child sexual exploitation offences and the support given to vulnerable victims in the case.
The thirteen men were convicted of 42 offences following two trials at Bristol Crown Court – the second of which concluded yesterday. Click here to read more about the case.
Tackling child sexual exploitation is a part of Sue Mountstevens’ wider priority to tackle domestic and sexual violence, particularly against women and girls. Sue said: “Our young people should be able to enjoy being children, growing up at their own pace and able to make their own decisions. Unfortunately in this case these children were manipulated, pressured and sexually exploited by others and forced to grow up much sooner than they should have.
“It’s important that our communities feel supported in tackling child sexual exploitation. I’m sure that this case will give them that confidence as the successful prosecution was the result of successful partnership working by different organisations. It’s only by working together that we can achieve the best for our young people. Avon and Somerset Police investigated these offences and worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to successfully prosecute the men and have been supported in this by Bristol City Council.
“I want to commend the courage shown by these children in talking about their ordeals. It must have been a daunting and difficult decision for each of them. Victims need to be at the heart of any prosecution and I’m pleased these particularly vulnerable victims have been well supported by both Barnado’s and the other agencies. Throughout this investigation the police have worked closely with victims and the wider community to give them support and help address any concerns they had. I’m pleased that this work with the community will continue by helping others to recognise the signs of exploitation and what they need to do.
“Sexual violence will continue to be a priority for me because I know it has a profound impact on victims and I’ll continue to champion this area. I know that the police share this determination with me and I will continue to lobby to make sure they have the resources they need to continue their work in this important area.
“I’m sure it will also be a priority for other agencies too and it’s really important that they all continue to work together. We need to continue sharing information and building a picture of what’s happening in the area and making sure we’re devoting the time, attention and money needed for something this important.”
Posted on Thursday 27th November 2014