Research Highlights Vulnerabilities Of Child Abuse Victims

Domestic Violence Identified As Most Common Risk Factor


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
A new study by Cafcass, the body that represents children in family law cases, investigates the pre-existing vulnerabilities of children who are victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

According to the report, children who have pre-existing vulnerabilities through their families, such as a pattern of substance abuse or violence in the family, can be at heightened risk of becoming targets of CSE.

The study suggests that such cases can make it difficult for authorities to identify when a child is being exploited, as victims may not understand the "coercive elements" of these relationships, and may not provide full or accurate accounts to those who could help.

Domestic violence was the most common risk factor identified in cases following divorce or separation. The report also emphasised that serious and even fatal maltreatment happens in cases categorised as low risk, as well as high risk cases.

"Hopefully this study will be built upon and allow us to recognise some of the recurring warning signs - ultimately enabling us to protect more vulnerable children from such an abhorrent crime," said Cafcass Chief Executive Anthony Douglas CBE.

Expert Opinion
This findings of this research are extremely troubling and it is vital it is taken into account when help and support is being offered to children considered to be at risk of sexual exploitation. It is imperative that measures are in place to highlight those at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation and every effort is made to protect these vulnerable people.

“We have seen first-hand the physical and psychological impact sexual exploitation can have on young people, which can affect them into their adult life. It is important the risk factors highlighted by the report play a role in identifying young people at risk of sexual exploitation and services are put in place to ensure they have the help and support networks they require.”
Tracey Storey, Partner