A PILOT support service for survivors of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse has been started in Oxfordshire.

It emerged as a report on progress made by county authorities since the Bullfinch child sex abuse scandal in 2011 said a key area for improvement was establishing “fit for purpose” services for children into adulthood.

More than 370 children were identified as suspected victims of CSE in the past 15 years by a serious case review published in March.

Maggie Blyth, the independent chairwoman of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, said that the pilot was launched because raised awareness about CSE was giving adults the courage to come forward and to report sexual abuse they had suffered as children.

She said: “There are adults disclosing what happened to them in Oxfordshire and there is not sufficient support or therapeutic provision.

“Sometimes the type of support that is needed is not acute enough to require a psychiatrist and is more than a GP can offer in 10 minutes.”

Ms Blyth said the pilot was launched in April, involving social workers and the NHS to offer improved support.

“It might be counselling, or one-to-one support for a short period of time, and we are monitoring its impact.

“You can’t predict how many adults are going to make disclosures, you have to be reactive.

“The other way is to make sure that you have trained professionals, GPs are really important here, but you must have other trained professionals in adult social care and the voluntary sector who can provide that support.”

She added: “I would like to see in Oxfordshire that those services are created and maintained, not just for victims of CSE but of child sexual abuse as well.”

The pilot came as Sophie Humphreys, a child protection expert appointed by the government to comment on progress made in tackling CSE, said therapy services available for victims were “sparse, and often not adequate”.

She said: “There is a genuine need for further ‘fit-for-purpose’ therapeutic services for adults who have been victims of sexual abuse in their childhood.”

Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld has also backed better support services and said a “counselling hub” was being set up for victims.

He said: “It is crucial that all victims of crime, including victims of CSE, get the support they need to help them cope and recover from their experiences.

“[The hub] will be a single point of contact for victims of crime to access.”

Mr Stansfeld added that last year £1.7m of grant funding was provided to organisations supporting victims across the Thames Valley.

That included £50,000 to the Step Out Project at the Oxford-based charity Donnington Doorstep, which works with hundreds of adults and children.