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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report has been published today, 1st February 2022.

Ivan Powell, Independent Chair of the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership, said:

"Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership welcomes the publication of the 18th investigation report of the UK-wide Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). This national thematic inquiry considered the steps statutory agencies such as local councils, police and health services can take to protect children from sexual abuse by organised networks. The Partnership, alongside Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police, provided evidence during IICSA.

"Together with partners we will now closely examine the findings and recommendations of the final report and consider what additional measures might be needed in Bristol to enable the children in our care to grow up safely in their homes and communities.

"Multi-agency safeguarding partnerships such as ours hold a vital role in child protection, and we continuously work to improve the effectiveness of agencies and partnerships’ responses to protect children from abuse and keep them safe.

"In Bristol, our partnership Safer Options approach coordinates a whole-city response to exploitation and violence. We have seen significant innovations in the adoption of Contextual Safeguarding with Dr Carlene Firmin improving agencies identification and response to organised networks in the city. The expansion of the specialist police team, Operation Topaz, and new services for young people affected by exploitation delivered through Barnardo’s BASE have all enabled us to continue to work together to protect children.

"Our communities remain our most important partners in identifying exploitation of children and I would continue to encourage anyone with concerns for children in the city to get in touch with services."

Sarah Parker, Interim Director of Children’s Services at Bristol City Council, said:

“I firstly want to acknowledge the young people from Bristol whose information was reviewed in this process which we know will not have been easy for them. Please be reassured that the findings from this inquiry will help local and national agencies improve how we protect and support other young people from this kind of harm.  

“Nationally the criminal sexual exploitation and abuse of children by organised crime networks has not always been recognised and responded to as robustly as it should. In Bristol we continue to work with partners to improve how we respond to all forms of child exploitation, most recently through the Safer Options projects and our collaboration with Barnardo’s Innovation Hub.

“We will review the national recommendations in this report and consider how they can be applied to our safeguarding practices in Bristol. We will also continue working tirelessly towards eradicating abuse, exploitation and harm in all its forms, to ensure Bristol is a city which is safe for all children and young people.”

 

If you have information and suspect that a child is being sexually abused or exploited in Bristol call the police on 101 or make a referral to Bristol City Council’s First Response team on 0117 903 6444, open 8.30-5pm on weekdays.

If you have experienced sexual abuse or exploitation there are services in Bristol who can support you, whether it’s recent or some time ago. You can find out more about services on offer in the city and surrounding areas at www.survivorpathway.org.uk or at www.bristolsafeguarding.org/saferoptions