The national action plan for tackling child sexual exploitation, published on 23 November 2011, brings together for the first time actions by the Government and a range of national and local partners to protect children from this largely hidden form of child abuse.
The action plan looks at sexual exploitation highlights areas where more needs to be done and sets out specific actions which government, local agencies and voluntary and community sector partners need to take to address this horrific form of abuse.
The plan aims to bring together actions by the Government and partners to protect children from this largely hidden crime. These include:
- Work with the Association of Chief Police Officers, health professional bodies, and the Social Work Reform Board to make sure child sexual exploitation is properly covered in training and guidance for frontline professionals.
- Local Safeguarding Children’s Board is to prioritise child sexual exploitation and undertake risk assessments.
- Support organisations like Rape Crisis, and local sexual assault referral centres, to improve services for young victims. It will also look at raising awareness by improving sex and relationships education in schools.
- The police, the Crown Prosecution Service, judges and magistrates to fully support young witnesses and victims, and increase the use of ‘special measures’ in court to ease the stress and anxiety of criminal proceedings on young people.
The issue of children being exploited has not been fully recognised and tackled. The Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan is one of the biggest steps forward to proactively deal with the issue.
Particular emphasis has been given on protecting children in the care system and councils are to work together to ensure children are not being trafficked across county boundaries, this is the first step to recognising the size and scale of a child protection problem.