Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has called for the police to prosecute suspected child groomers for lesser offences instead of waiting for sexual abuse to start before acting.
The Labour MP wants the police and Crown Prosecution Service to pursue prosecutions for lesser offences already in legislation at an early stage in the grooming process, before physical abuse actually occurs.
She met with Home Secretary Theresa May this week to ask the minister to encourage the police and CPS to take a more proactive approach to the issue and bring about more prosecutions for offences such as grooming and trafficking.
The Rotherham MP has also asked for the Home Secretary to make changes to the forthcoming Serious Crime Bill to give police more powers when offenders breach child abduction warning notices.
Ms Champion said Ms May had been ‘receptive’ to her ideas.
She said: “It is of vital importance that the horrors that occurred in Rotherham are not replicated in other parts of the country.
“There are simple measures that can be put in place to prevent this, but it does require Government intervention to make sure it happens.
“My concern is that unless I keep up the pressure on the Government, other children may fall victim to this horrendous crime. I’m not prepared to let that happen.
“Theresa May did seemed genuinely concerned about child sexual exploitation nationally. She was open and interested to my recommendations and I expect her to start implementing them so this crime can be contained.”
Ms Champion was involved in a national inquiry into national child sexual exploitation earlier this year and has also recently appointed a specialist - Jayne Senior, former manager of the Risky Business organisation in Rotherham - to assist her in responsding to the issues raised by the Jay report, which revealed at least 1,400 children in the town had been abused.