Standing up for victims of CSE
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is an issue that has greatly affected our town. I am proud to have been able to work with victims and survivors to get their voice heard in Parliament and to have joined survivors in successfully campaigning for an inquiry. This website shows only publicly recorded actions and events - and of whilst the public record is great evidence of the work I have done in this area, a lot of work has also gone on behind the scenes.
I have met with many victims and survivors, worked to secure legal representation for families, worked with the police and probation services locally to ensure new victims coming forward were properly heard, and also with the local Council to get the inquiry off the ground. I am meeting the newly appointed Chairman of the inquiry in Parliament next week. I have worked cross-party with MPs whose constituencies have been affected by this issue.
I have campaigned to change the law relating to early release of serious sexual offenders by highlighting the case of the Mubarek Ali and have worked with the media on articles, interviews and documentaries to keep shining the light on an issue that had been too long swept under the carpet.
Seeking longer sentences and for CSE perpetrators
In May 2022 the Parole Board ruled that Telford grooming gang leader, Mubarek Ali, is not eligible for early release from prison. This follows his original early release in 2017, which I strongly and publicly opposed at the time. Ali’s early release occurred less than 5 years after his trial, causing significant distress for his victims who had given evidence.
Ali was originally sentenced in December 2012, to 22 years: 14 in custody and 8 on licence. Under the law existing at that time, Ali was eligible for automatic early release after serving half of his sentence. Taking into account time served on remand, he was out less than 5 years after the ordeal of the trial. No notice was given to victims and they felt re traumatised by his release.
I repeatedly raised my concerns about the sentencing system with Ministers and the Department for Justice and campaigned with victims for justice. Soon after his release, Ali broke his bail conditions, resulting in his return to prison until 2032. If he had not broken his licence terms, he would still be on the streets today, under the law in place at the time of his trial.
Following my extensive lobbying over many years, the newly elected Government in 2019 introduced a change in the law. The failure to deliver justice to victims and the lenient treatment in the Mubarek Ali case finally convinced Ministers that more had to be done to protect the public and deliver justice for victims.
I am therefore pleased that the Government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act abolishes the automatic halfway release of adult offenders from prison for serious violent and sexual offences and introduces a new requirement to serve two-thirds of a custodial sentence.
These reforms will mean that hundreds of serious sexual and violent offenders sentenced each year will spend longer behind bars. In addition, the Act creates a new power to prevent the automatic early release of offenders who are found to pose a danger to the public after they have been convicted and sentenced.
You can read more about my campaigning on this case here.
Independent Inquiry into Telford Child Sexual Exploitation (IITCSE)
Since my election, I have consistently put victims front and centre of my work in Parliament. It was through my lobbying that I secured an Independent Inquiry into Telford CSE cases (IITCSE) through my work in Parliament and with Telford & Council. This QC-led inquiry remains in progress.
You can read full progress reports from the IITCSE Inquiry on their website here.
I continue to prioritise justice for CSE victims in Telford and I will work around the clock to ensure that these crimes are not repeated in our community or across the country.
I am proud of the work I have done for victims of CSE. Some of that work is not in the public domain as the cases are currently in the legal system but this issue is an absolute priority for me as Telford’s MP. I will continue to fight for justice for victims and am following the progress of the IITCSE inquiry closely.
I met with the Senior Leadership of West Mercia Police on 20 May 2022 to discuss the upcoming publication of the Inquiry's report sometime in the first half of this year and the Police's response.
Actions taken by your MP on this issue
It may also be helpful to summarise the actions I have been taking to tackle this issue on behalf of victims and my constituents since I was first elected:
- I have been shining a light on this problem by raising the matter in PMQs and in debates in Parliament and widely in the media over many years.
- Victims who have been failed by the police and the Council have come to me for help. I have ensured that their voices were heard, and their cases prosecuted including a recent case where the victim was turned away three times and now the perpetrator has been brought to justice.
- I have secured pro bono legal advice for victims and their families, many of whom would ordinarily be unable to afford legal fees.
- I have consistently held the Council and the Police to account, publicly challenging their response and their commitment to ensuring justice is comprehensively delivered for all victims.
- I have worked on legislation in Parliament to prevent early release of perpetrators guilty of serious sexual offences. This Government has since increased sentences and reviewed automatic early release, but it is my firm conviction that we can go further.
- I have worked with parole board and Victims’ Commissioner to ensure victims were supported at the time of the release of offenders.
- Briefed a series of Justice and Home Office ministers on the situation in Telford, ensuring that those at the top of Government are aware of the nuances of the circumstances on the ground.
- I have repeatedly met with local Police to discuss this over the last 7 years to discuss the internal culture and response to CSE cases so that victims are better supported through the justice system.