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Thirty arrests made in child sexual abuse investigations in Northern Ireland

More than 30 people have been arrested as part of a major investigation into the sexual exploitation of children and young people in Northern Ireland. A number have already appeared in court charged with sexual exploitation and other offences. The police have identified a group of 22 young people - aged between 13 and 18 - that may have been abused. The investigation follows a review of cases of young people missing from the care system over the past 18 months. A team of 15 detectives and social workers is working on the investigation. The majority of the children were abused when they went missing from care homes but it is understood some of the victims were living at home with their families and were abused when they left their homes.

In a statement, Mr Poots, Health minister, said: "The Safeguarding Board Northern Ireland has identified child sexual exploitation as a priority and is developing and agreeing a multi-agency action plan to deal with the issue.

"Our first priority is to ensure that those who cynically exploit children in this way face the full force of the law and are brought to justice. That is why I have given my full support to the joint investigation between the PSNI and Social Services of CSE currently under way.

"All agencies must continue to demonstrate that robust and sufficient action is being taken to both prevent children and young people being sexually exploited and to deal effectively with those who perpetrate child sexual exploitation."

The health minister has said the abuse was on a scale not seen before in Northern Ireland and compared it to recent high-profile court cases in Rochdale and Oxford.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Mon 16th Sept 2013