Forty-one cases of child sexual exploitation in Doncaster have been reported to police in just five months, according to new figures.
In the wake of last year’s independent Jay report – which revealed at least 1,400 children had been sexually abused in Rotherham over 16 years – Doncaster police said they had received 41 reports about child sexual exploitation (CSE) related offences.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said tackling CSE offences in Doncaster and across the region was a ‘priority’ for the force.
He said: “We are now operating with a deeper understanding of child sexual exploitation.
“We are acutely aware of the grooming process and the impact it has on a child. It leads the victim to view the behaviour as normal and not recognise themselves as victims.
“The cruel process used by groomers encourages the victims to return to them – this is not consent and will not be deemed as such by South Yorkshire Police.
“We treat child sexual exploitation with the utmost sensitivity and would urge anyone who has concerns about a child who could be at risk to come forward.
“We want to encourage and empower them to come forward to report the dreadful crimes committed against them in the confidence that they will be listened to, they will be taken seriously, and that support and care is available.”
The reports were made between the publication of the report last August and the end of January.
The figures come as Doncaster Council members were due to discuss the authority’s strategy for tackling CSE at a meeting today.
A report due to go before councillors says 15 CSE prosecutions have been made in Doncaster since January 2014.
In addition, the report states that between January 1 and November 26, last year, the council received 170 ‘sexual exploitation’ referrals, with 123 now classed as ‘closed’.
However, the council also admits the number of referrals made ‘does not fully reflect the incidence of CSE in the area’.
The authority has stated it expects to receive more referrals as data and intelligence improves and its outreach work enables the community to become more confident in ‘recognising and reporting risk’.
No-one from the authority or Doncaster Children’s Trust was available for comment.