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National Strategy needed to tackle child sexual exploitation, 15/01/14 [S]

Scotland lacks a clear strategy to tackle child sexual exploitation. This is just one of the key recommendations from a report issued by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

The report, the result of an inquiry into tackling child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Scotland, also found that research is needed to reveal the scale of the problem in Scotland. It also recommends that education programmes showing young people how to recognise and challenge sexual exploitation and bullying need to be made available across all communities in Scotland.

Other recommendations in the report include:

  • Refuges for young people experiencing or at risk of CSE need to be established. Consideration should be given to placing a relevant duty on all local authorities in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill.
  • Social work and other child protection services should give higher priority to addressing childhood sexual abuse in general, and other vulnerabilities in younger children, such as neglect, which may put them at particular risk of CSE. 
  • The Scottish Government should give high priority to ensuring that high-quality data collection tools, to provide vital information on the prevalence and nature of CSE in Scotland, are identified, standardised and rolled out across Scotland. 
  • The Scottish Government, Police Scotland and all key agencies should adopt a high commitment to disrupting perpetrator activity and identifying those at risk.
  • Post-legislative scrutiny of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 should be undertaken to ensure that the intention of this legislation is being delivered and that all possible perpetrators of CSE crimes are being prosecuted.
  • Risk of sexual harm orders (RSHOs) should be used in a much more comprehensive way for the protection of young people in Scotland.  
  • Mandatory training should be given for frontline and specialist police officers on the legislative options available to them disrupt perpetrators of CSE.

For full details see the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Inquiry into tackling child sexual exploitation in Scotland