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Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst raises child exploitation at Theresa May's first Prime Minister's Question Time

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a further crackdown on child exploitation, saying she is appalled at what she described as a dreadful crime.

The pledge came after she was pressed on the matter during her first Prime Minister's Question Time today by Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst.

She asked: "Given the progress made in tackling child exploitation in recent years, could the government outline what plans it has to strengthen protection for this vulnerable age group?"

Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood.
Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood.

Mrs May responded by saying the government had introduced measures to tackle the issue following the grooming scandal in Rotherham and more were planned.

She said: "We saw the appalling circumstances in Rotherham- since then the government has been working with all agencies to ensure that we put greater support in place in funding to ensure victims are given the right support."

She added: "We have launched a whistleblowers hotline to help authorities spot patterns of behaviour; we have made child sexual exploitation a national threat so police forces have a duty to collaborate to tackle this dreadful crime.

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

"In the coming months we will be strengthening our current arrangements. We are all appalled by this dreadful crime."

Ms Tolhurst said data showed that 113 16 and 17-year-olds in the constituency had reported being a victim of child sexual abuse.

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