Belfast Telegraph

Professor Kathleen Marshall to hold summit on child sexual exploitation

BY LESLEY-ANNE McKEOWN

A former commissioner for children in Scotland has been appointed to lead an independent inquiry in to child sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland.

Professor Kathleen Marshall will hold a summit this month and take evidence into how to protect looked-after children and measure the extent of child sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland.

A PSNI investigation known as Operation Owl is looking at cases of suspected abuse of 22 children.

The inquiry panel will include the chief executives of health service, criminal justice and education regulators. It will report back before the end of next year.

Stormont Health Minister Edwin Poots' announcement comes after more than 30 people have been arrested as part of a major investigation in to the sexual exploitation of children and young people.

A group of 22 young people aged between 13 and 18 may have been abused.

The findings will be reported to Mr Poots, Stormont Justice Minister David Ford and Education Minister John O'Dowd.

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