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Child sexual exploitation
Social services and police “missed opportunities” to stop the sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale, a report into a grooming scandal has revealed. According to the BBC, “deficiencies” and “patchy” training of front-line staff were behind the failings, the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board said in its review of child sexual exploitation. It comes after nine men were jailed in May for grooming girls as young as 13. Lynne Jones, chair of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, said the council had “responded” to the review and had “improvements” had already been put in place. “I believe organisations are working better together, sharing information to ensure children are protected and that perpetrators of these crimes are prosecuted,” she said.
The NSPCC has warned that a “hidden pool” of child neglect is going unchecked, because social workers are under pressure to downgrade cases, the Guardian writes. This comes after polling for the charity found that six out of ten social workers thought that children in their area suffering neglect would not get help quickly.
Meanwhile, care minister Norman Lamb has promised extra help for family members who give up work to look after relatives. The Independent says his pledge follows their report that the crisis in social care is costing the British economy more than £5bn a year in carers’ lost wages and tax contributions as well as benefit payments.
Thousands of homes in the north of England remained under threat of flooding last night as local authorities and emergency services deal with the most intense September storm in 30 years. The Independent reports that looters in Newburn, Newcastle, took advantage of the floods to steal bicycles worth tens of thousands of pounds, behaviour described as “despicable” by police.
An adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee has suggested that the Scottish government broke its promise to produce a budget focused on the economy, instead prioritising the health service, the Daily Telegraph reports. Professor David Bell, an economist from the University of Sterling, said it was “difficult to avoid the conclusion” that the NHS had been the main priority of the budget unveiled by finance secretary John Swinney last week.