Child sexual exploitation: Everyone can help address it

Featured article - 06 January 2017
By Sheila Taylor, Chief Executive, NWG Network

Head-shot of the author, Sheila Taylor, Chief Executive, NWG Network

Just one sign could indicate a child who is at risk and needs professional help. This doesn’t mean that the sexual abuse of children through exploitation and trafficking is a straightforward subject, but there are things that everyone can do. Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is harmful and can be extremely damaging, even life threatening, whereby children and young people are enticed and coerced into sexual acts.

And following a Downing Street summit in March 2015, my organisation – the NWG Network - was appointed to develop the CSE Response Unit. We launched it in September 2016. We’ve got more than 1200 resources, forums, seminars, training and support so that CSE can be tackled. The Government now recognises the need to seriously address the issues of sexual exploitation among our young people. This is an important progression towards our aim of creating a society that has zero tolerance to the abuse of children and young people today.

The NWG’s work with professionals has been a valued resource for people working in this field of abuse and therefore the development of a funded response unit building on that previous work is an exciting expansion, for both the organisation and the professionals we will be working alongside. Staff specialise in safeguarding, health and policing, whilst the additional funding has allowed us to recruit new expertise to the team to expand our working brief.

The unit has new posts addressing education and community engagement, along with working with parents and carers. We have also developed a register of skills and knowledge, using people and agencies who have experience in tackling child sexual exploitation. We aim to assist in embedding the wealth of recommendations from research, inquiries, inspections and serious case reviews. We have built an interactive tool with access to more than 400 recommendations from a range of reports that should assist the easier implementation.

We look forward to seeing new people join our network, strengthening the sharing of knowledge and understanding in the coming weeks and months. It doesn’t have to be complex.

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