A new report today has claimed that child sexual exploitation has become the 'social norm' in some towns in the United Kingdom.

Men much older than schoolgirls are regularly approaching the youngsters, plying them with gifts, alcohol and drugs as a way of grooming them for sex says the police-commissioned study.

The report suggests that almost 650 children reported missing in Greater Manchester this year are at high risk of serious harm or child sexual exploitation.

However despite nearly 13,000 cases of child sex abuse in the past six years, only 1,078 were convicted as figures from Greater Manchester Police were revealed.

Labour MP Ann Coffey put together the report and insists that the police force are making progress on the issue, but claims then erupted that the study "whitewashed" the extent of police failings to deal with the crimes.

Rochdale's 2012 grooming scandal was the event which spurred on the inquiry's commission, where a group of nine men preyed on young and vulnerable females.

One case in the 148-page report says that officers didn't consider a 13-year-old girl as a victim because she wore a crop top and other "sexualised" clothes.

Ann Coffey now says that the results are a "deafening wake-up call", adding that she has "been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm."

Now she suggests a radical approach to tackle the problem, recognising the police, children's services and justice system cannot succeed alone in protecting children at a time of deep cuts in spending.

She calls for the issue to be declared as a public health priority alongside drugs and obesity, and wants more thorough training of police officers in this area.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk criticised the report, stating: "This was a report commissioned by GMP and it lacks the independence needed to confront the deep problems in GMP that have allowed far too many paedophiles to get away with terrible crimes. This is the only report suggesting the police are making progress and it's the first report commissioned by GMP."

Home Secretary Theresa May seemed to agree and said that the way in which police are dealing with these problems is "not good enough".

Chief constable of Greater Manchester, Sir Peter Fahy commented: "There is always more we can do to safeguard and support young people."

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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