Did you watch the BBC’s ‘Three Girls’?
If not, you should. It is available on iPlayer until 15 June. Not only is it an outstanding, whilst tough to watch, drama, it gives a real insight into the reality of child sexual exploitation (CSE). I found the performance of 19 year old Molly Windsor in the lead role quite remarkable, not to mention that of the ever reliable Maxine Peake.
Whilst the events in Rochdale, which the series dramatised, were extreme in the scale and longevity of the events given the awareness that they were occurring and the extent to which these were implicitly accepted, there can be no doubt that they are still being replicated. These were three girls out of many, not to mention boys as well.That should repulse and incense us all.
The drama underlined the ease with which disaffected young people can be groomed and then abused. Yet, whilst the failure of public services was exposed by the narrative, there is a risk of assuming that prevention is the duty of the Council and the Police. That would be, though, an abrogation of responsibility by the community.
Safeguarding our young people is down to all of us. We never know where we might see something and suspect. We need to be alert to that possibility and we need to not dismiss any misgivings too readily.
The Council’s Early Help is encouraging awareness of CSE and is eager to help anyone wanting to find out more on 0121 709 7000.
In a week when those who profess an Islamic faith but act outwith its tenets came tragically into sharp focus in that same region, the North West. It is as well to remember that whilst the abusers in Rochdale were Muslim, abusers, like any other kind of criminal, come in all creeds and colours.
It was suggested, post Manchester, that those who consider turning to terrorism are disaffected people who feel they have nothing to live for. No doubt, those drawn into CSE also feel they have nothing to live for.
As communities, we should be united – in insisting that everyone should feel that life is worth living and each play our part to make our society one in which that is the case.