YEP Says (July 27): We must work together to stop this abuse of children

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It is not a subject anyone ever really wants to confront, but the fact is that child sex exploitation is a huge problem in West Yorkshire.

And not just West Yorkshire, of course. This dark side of our world is actually a global horror.

Which is why it is imperative that we work together to tackle an issue which damages children and ruins lives.

In our region, police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has met with other local organisations to try to create what he calls a roadmap to better protect young people.

Along with Nazir Afzal, of the Crown Prosecution Service, he has held a summit meeting of councils, charities, schools and health services. The idea is to pool knowledge and synchronise systems.

It sounds a little dry, but the devil is always in the detail, and it is this kind of detail that could help save a child from a life of terror and misery.

Mr Burns-Williamson makes the point that it is not only important to raise awareness of issues but to take every opportunity to catch and punish those responsible.

Nazir Afzal said that though we have spent generations telling children they should be seen and not heard, now is the time to change that and assure children that we will listen. No right-thinking person could disagree with that.

This lesson should have been learned

Parents Hannah and Nathan Cotterill suffered the worst loss imaginable when their baby died in her mother’s arms just 90 minutes after she was born.

They believed their daughter’s ashes had been scattered in a memorial garden, but have now discovered she was kept in storage for months and then buried in an unmarked grave.

The couple have received an apology, but too often bereaved parents are discovering hurtful realities which make their grief fresh and sharp.

This event happened only two years ago - and the authorities should have learned lessons by now.

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