Thurrock partners with leading university for ground-breaking study into sexual exploitation in the borough

VICTIMS, and potential victims, of adult sexual exploitation will be better protected thanks to a ground breaking study carried out by Thurrock Safeguarding Adults Board (TSAB) and The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University (LMU).

Cllr Deborah Huelin, Cabinet Member for Adults and Communities, said “Once again Thurrock leads the way with a fantastic piece of exploratory work, this time partnered with the LMU to investigate the deeply unsettling issue of sexual exploitation in adults and young people transitioning into adulthood in the borough.

“The results of this study will help the council, partners and professionals strengthen their understanding of adult sexual exploitation (ASE) in the community, and develop clearer ways for child and adult victim-survivors to be identified and supported. Following the vital work of the South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre (SERICC) across the region, we hope this promising research can both improve the lives of those impacted by ASE, as well as preventing it altogether.”

By gathering feedback from frontline practitioners about their experiences of working with ASE and analysing historical data from 161 sexual exploitation cases from 2018/19, the study has identified how services across the borough can help to identify and respond to ASE in Thurrock.

Outcomes from the study include finding new ways to:

  • tackle perpetrators and reduce offending
  • improve the response to victims and survivors of ASE   
  • improve the training provided to a range of agencies, including the council, health providers and the police, in supporting victims of ASE

From the findings a series of strong recommendations on how services, partners and professionals can help to identify and respond to ASE have been proposed. The full report is available to read online at on the Thurrock Safeguarding Adults Board website.

Jo Lovett, from London Metropolitan University said, “The results of the study will be incredibly helpful for colleagues in adult social care, alongside professionals in areas such as healthcare, police and housing. By working closely with Thurrock we’ve been able to create a series of recommendations that focus on recognising and supporting victim-survivors, stopping perpetrators’ behaviour rather than thinking that victim-survivors’ need to change their behaviour, and ensuring that the appropriate services are in place to address these.”

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