Child Sexual Exploitation – Groundhog Day
Child Sexual Exploitation is in the news again – the media are over-run with commentators who are wringing their hands, apologising, claiming that they’re not sure how they didn't know, telling us that work is in progress to ‘remove this vile scourge’ from our communities. But what are we actually doing? We've looked over a series of reports on Child Sexual Exploitation in the last months and years, and today we have combined this knowledge so we understand just how many recommendations there are around this issue.
The National Working Group provides a summary report reviewing the recommendations from reports into child sexual abuse and exploitation, and this was last updated in October 2014. The NWG data comes from this series of reports:
House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on CSE and the response to localised grooming. Second Report of Session 2013-2014
Barnardo’s – Puppet on a string
Barnardo’s – Running away from hate to what you think is love: The Relationship between Running away and CSE
Coventry LSCB – Final Overview Report of Serious Case Review re Daniel Pelka – Sept 2013
NWG Network – Shine A Light
Home Office – Missing Children and Adults: A Cross Government Strategy
Child exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) – Out of Mind, Out of Sight
Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC) -“Sex without consent, I suppose that is rape”: How young people in England understand sexual consent – November 2013
OCC – ‘Pornography is Everywhere’
OCC – CSE G and and Group Research (CSEGG) Accelerated Report
OCC – CSEGG Interim Report
OCC – CSEGG Final Report
Unheard Voices-The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Women – September 2013
Health Working group Report on Child Sexual Exploitation- January 2014
Report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Effectiveness of Legislation for Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking within the UK
Report on review of ways to reduce distress of victims in trials of sexual violence
Independent Inquiry into the Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 2014
Barnardo’s - The Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Young Men
Manifesto for Missing People: Calls to Action for the Next Government
PACE Reports - ‘The Relational Safeguarding Model” and ‘Parents as Partners in Safeguarding Children’
University of Bedfordshire ‘Its Wrong but You Get Used to it’
University of Bedfordshire Evaluation of Barnardo’s Safe Accommodation Project •
The Scottish Report on Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation in Scotland 2014
The NWG report splits the recommendations for particular professional services or organisations, and as of October 2014, there were a total of 233 recommendations linked to the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. We've listed these below:
Education – 30 recommendations
Government – 72 recommendations
Health – 26 recommendations
Local Safeguarding Children's Board(s) – 70 recommendations
Police – 35 recommendations
Although the NWG report gives an overview of the recommendations contained within these reports, we have another series of reports that we refer to, or use in our day-to-day practice. These reports are not included in the total from the NWG report above.
Total number of recommendations from these reports: 343
Grand Total Number of Recommendations from NWG Report (October 2014) and the reports listed above -
Five Hundred and Seventy Six recommendations related to sexual abuse and exploitation of children in a series of reports published within the last 10 years – the majority of these have been published in the last 5 years.
Some of these recommendations will be duplicated; some of them will be appropriate to particular localities. What they have in common is that they are an action that should be implemented in order to reduce the risk of harm to both children who have been sexually abused and/or exploited, and those at risk of such abuse.
How did we reach this point? How is it possible to implement such a large number of recommendations, without agencies working together - not just within a particular locality, but across the whole of the UK? How is it possible to keep track of the progress of implementation of these recommendations and monitor the improvement in outcomes that these recommendations should result in? We do not believe that it is possible to ignore the cuts that have had to be absorbed by local government under the austerity regime, nor ignore the racist culture across society, where only cases involving men of Pakistani origin are widely reported; nor is it possible to ignore the wider societal issues of inequality as a cause and a consequence of violence against women and children.
In the words of a participant in the Office of the Children's Commissioner report - If Only Someone Had Listened. Maybe we need to ask the Children's Minister, Edward Timpson MP, when he will start?