Child sexual exploitation – change is needed
Recent inquiries continue to expose the serious issue that is “child sexual exploitation” which is defined by a 2017 Department for Education document:
“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”
Child sexual exploitation is a national issue and includes Rotherham, Rochdale, Telford, Oxford, Bristol, Newcastle and too many other parts of the country. The level of abuse that has been uncovered appears to be just the start sadly of discovering the full picture and it is one that is not just about the abuse that has taken place but also by the failings of local authorities to listen to and act on concerns about children suffering abuse.
A recent report into exploitation in Bradford acknowledged the same and said:
“During the process of conducting this review it became clear at an early stage that agencies and individuals in Bradford do not always get it right and some children remain unprotected while some perpetrators remain unknown and unchallenged.”
The police and authorities have undoubtedly improved since exploitation took place in the 1990’s and before but recent history and reports continue to show that a lot more needs to be done to ensure children are protected and that action is taken as soon as possible to stop abuse.
It is important to see investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation now taking place and resulting in criminal charges being placed and also convictions for these offences. We also need to ensure complainants are given as much support as possible their abuse and that professionals act on the same because without this we will sadly see further “scandals” being disclosed by the media for decades to come.