Grooming gangs who target children and young women will be “stamped out” under new plans unveiled by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
A new Grooming Gangs Taskforce led by the police and supported by the National Crime Agency, will help police forces with live child sexual exploitation and grooming investigations with the objective of “root[ing] out grooming gangs and put more perpetrators behind bars”.
The announcement also included plans to introduce mandatory reporting for adults working with children if they suspect or identify that child is being abused; a key recommendation in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“The safety of women and girls is paramount. For too long, political correctness has stopped us from weeding out vile criminals who prey on children and young women. We will stop at nothing to stamp out these dangerous gangs.”
Alongside the new taskforce, the Prime Minister has pledged to make sure grooming gang members and their ring leaders receive the toughest possible sentences. Legislation will be introduced to make being the leader of or involved in a grooming gang a “statutory aggravating factor” during sentencing.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman added:
“The protection of children is a collective effort. Every adult must be supported to call out child sexual abuse without fear.
And the despicable abusers must be brought to justice. They should not be able to hide. And they must face the full force of the law for their crimes.
That’s why I’m introducing a mandatory reporting duty and launching a call for evidence. We must address the failures identified by the Inquiry and take on board the views of the thousands of victims and survivors who contributed to its findings.
I would encourage everyone to engage with the process once it starts – it is important to have a national conversation about this to shine a light on this terrible – but too often hidden – crime.”