Operation Bullfinch Oxford Child Grooming Report Released

Oxford County Council have recently  released a Report on Operation Bullfinch [1] . Following a joint police and Oxfordshire County Council investigation called Operation Bullfinch, seven men were found guilty in May 2013 of a total of 59 counts including rape and facilitating child prostitution. They were sentenced to a total of 95 years in in prison.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this blog or reports.
Coping with triggers http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html or support available here http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/
NAPAC is the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, has a freephone helpline and gives links to local support groups http://www.napac.org.uk/

The abuse uncovered by Operation Bullfinch is known as ‘street grooming’. This involves offenders deliberately targeting their young victims with affection, alcohol and drugs; isolating them from friends and family, and then subjecting them to extreme violence, sexual abuse and trafficking. [1]

Operation Bullfinch was a joint Operation between the Police and County Council and whilst this undoubtedly makes sense on one level, then there is also the danger that the Council glosses over all the faults that led up to the abuse, and the authorities are very much in control of the news agenda.

According to the Oxford Mail article [2]  Key points from the report released 26th November 2013 :

  • Social workers to be “more like detectives” in working with complex evidence
  • ‘Kingfisher’ – a 12-strong team of police officers and social workers based in Oxford – has been praised by the Local Government Association for good practice.
  • Plans in place to improve work with schools, communities, faith groups and other organisations to educate young people and prevent exploitation.
  • Society should play its part – reporting concerns about children “in the same way as they would not hesitate to report a burning building”.
  • The budget for children’s services in Oxfordshire has increased from £24m in 2006/7 to £48m in 2013/14.
  • Efforts will be made to inform other authorities to avoid a repeat elsewhere.
  • Victims do not always understand what they are involved in, or regard it as an exploitation.
  • Pre-Bullfinch, the council and others did not fully understand the grooming process or recognise the scale of the sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • More work is needed so those investigating abuse and exploitation can establish trust with the victims.
  • A serious case review, led by barrister David Spicer, will be published in 2014.

The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board which is in charge of coordinating the multi agency approach has commissioned a Serious Case Review, which will examine the robustness of the professional responses and whether appropriate local and national policies and professional standards were followed. [1]
The serious case review is unlikely to be completed before the end of 2014. Oxfordshire County Council is committed to accepting recommendations from the Serious Case Review that will deliver improvements and make Oxfordshire children safer. [1]

In November 2012, social workers and Thames Valley Police set up a special joint team called Kingfisher, with support from the local health service to prevent, protect and prosecute cases of child sexual exploitation. A peer review of the early impact of the Kingfisher team by the Local Government Association in March 2013 identified good practice. It also commented on strong co-operation between Kingfisher and secondary schools. The council are building on the work of the Kingfisher team to develop a new Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) – one of the recommendations of the Home Affairs Select Committee report into child sexual exploitation. [1]

The County Council have also released some information

Background to the trial [3]

County Council Statement after the trial in May 2013 [4]

Signs and Signals of Child Exploitation [5]

Video on child exploitation introduced by Peter Davies CEO CEOP , ACPO Lead Child protection[6]


[1] This link downloads the Bullfinch Report Oxford Mail http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/resources/files/30891

[2] Oxford mail Article http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/bullfinch/10835437.County_Council_releases_report_over_Bullfinch_work_but_more_to_be_done/

[3] County Council Bullfinch http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/news/2013/may/background-bullfinch-trial

[4] County Council Statement after Trial May 2013 http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/news/2013/may/oxford-child-exploitation-trial

[5] County Council  Sexual Exploitation signs http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/child-sexual-exploitation

[6] Video on child exploitation signs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBhGgNQY8CY

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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11 Responses to Operation Bullfinch Oxford Child Grooming Report Released

  1. opgreenlight says:

    Reblogged this on theneedleblog.


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