SERVICES are 'strongly committed' to safeguarding the county's vulnerable children despite concerns over child sexual exploitation and domestic abuse in the last year.

In its annual report, Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) focused on neglected children, children affected by domestic abuse and sexually exploited children.

The report said the number of looked after children had increased by 4.5 per cent last year to 798 in the last year whilst with the number of admissions to the 'Family Front Door' - the first point of contact for advice and referral - reaching 10,000, an increase of 10 per cent.

Derek Benson, chairman of the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board, said in the report: "I am assured that those three key safeguarding partners [the county council, the police and health] along with other important sectors and agencies, are committed to delivering effective and inclusive safeguarding arrangements for the children and young people of Worcestershire."

The WSCB report highlighted a number of concerns with regards to child sexual exploitation (CSE) including the capacity of services to cope with young people who have experience exploitation.

The report also highlighted the absence of a multi-agency 'Problem Profile' which would highlight trends and hotspots for CSE in the county as well as the problems West Mercia Police faced sharing CSE data.

The report also revealed that two CSE investigations were made in the last year involving 'potentially high numbers of child victims and witnesses'.

In the last year, three Serious Case Reviews (SCR) - which take place after a child has died or is seriously injured - have been reported and commissioned by the WSCB.

One review has been completed and is due to be published soon.

WSCB also found when auditing the case files of 12 children who had suffered domestic abuse more than five times, almost half had been the subject of a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) unbeknownst to professionals and a missed opportunity to carry out safeguarding work.

A DVPO would have banned a perpetrator from making contact with the victim for up to 28 days after the incident.