Government measures to protect CYP from sexual abuse,...

Commenting on the government’s package of measures to protect children and young people from sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking, Jenny Coles, Chair of the Association’s Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee, said:

“No one agency alone can effectively identify, prevent and disrupt the sexual abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children and young people. This work is highly complex and requires the full commitment and support of all statutory partners including local authorities, the police, health services, schools, the voluntary sector and the wider community. The impact of this on children and young people, their families and communities can last a lifetime so we welcome the government’s investment in services to help agencies work together more effectively to tackle it and support victims.

“Information sharing between agencies is key to successful multi-agency working and shining a spotlight on what works well, and more importantly not so well, is vital to helping us keep children and young people safe and preventing these crimes from happening in the first place. Hearing from children and young people themselves about their experiences is also an important consideration in the development of services. Local authorities already share experiences and work together with their partners to find new and different ways to prevent abuse in all its forms and the new Centre of Expertise represents a more formal way of gathering and spreading best practice across the sector. We welcome this. But at the same time, we must also look to address the cultural, moral and social issues that sit at the heart of this abuse for example, the over sexualisation of children, young people and women in the media, as a matter of urgency and the Centre should through its work also make a positive contribution in this area.”

Commenting on the government’s revised definition of child sexual exploitation, Jenny Coles said:

“We welcome the government’s revised definition of child sexual exploitation (CSE) which describes more clearly what it is and crucially does so in a way that’s accessible to the wider public and children and young people themselves. CSE can take many different forms including the exploitation of an individual child and the organised and systematic exploitation of children by multiple perpetrators in groups or gangs and the new definition helpfully captures this as well as the complexities around the issue of consent in that, a child or young person may not always know they are being exploited and may feel as though they are engaging in this activity voluntarily. We hope that this new revised definition will result in better recognition of CSE amongst professionals and, crucially, the general public and the better working together of agencies behind one common definition of CSE to effectively safeguard children and bring perpetrators of this horrific abuse to justice.”


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